FOUR POEMS, THREE POETS
of Robert Creeley
rat poisons, barns, a sled with no runner
or figure or evening. In the
break the heart.
except my children who are trained to love
rights, with impetuosity and
the shock of recognition, like they say,
contact, hence out to lunch.
ruthless, friends felt,
even to make such images,
each voice which is asked
like this, he said. Where were you?
each wound is perfect
Ode to Toni Morrison
The indolence of summer troubles & tickles
her right beneath the ribs.
She’s sure one is missing.
Not for a moment does she believe
that Eve was created from Adam.
No, it’s the other way around.
Not only that, creation is universal.
Every woman loses a rib
in the making of something:
a song, a baby, a helpmate.
She owns the waters that lick the shore.
She owns laughter.
She owns the languid summer.
The almost ecstatic thrill
of bearing witness to blossom & strut
holds forth a promise:
the intransigent katydid will winter in her hand.
On the Darkest Days, We Drove
My mother and I and the circle
one sixteenth of an inch deep,
no bigger than the mole on my right calf,
just below my knee, the circle burned
into the carpet of the front passenger’s seat.
The other woman a cigarette
extinguished on my mother’s skin.
My father the smoke.
Sometimes we parked on any of the dusty cliffs
around the airport and watched other people leave,
driven to the edge of the city
for everyone to see.
Then they flattened all the Braille. Gave us
dusty violet globe grapes, a little Elizabeth
Taylor, one for each socket. They split us into
groups of “my father hi-tailed it,” and “I lost my
mother,” and gave us each a reedy singing voice
box, though we already had our own. Some
were tuned to a minor third, others an
augmented fourth. Restless intervals. Then we
were on our own, palms out and ringing in the
flatland. A group of new cartographers formed
and left. All around me singing in a key of
sorrow. Terra incognita. I wished I’d put my
hand in with the globe-eyed cartographers.
First the numbers died. More protest than
strategy; they let go because they were tired
of longing for corporeal form. Then the
wheelchairs split. Up-ended their keepers onto
sidewalks where they lay lumpen like potatoes,
robbed of forward motion. People used each
other instead. You + your lover + the angry guy
behind the counter in the spice shop = two
sidewalk planks = two flights up = standing
agape before a canvas. A large red four, sharp
as a winter bird, lifts off it, flies through the
snowy gallery-scape. Soundless. Snow-muffled.
from Kestral, 26 (Spring 2011), Ed. Donna J. Long