Poems


 

DID YOU KNOW—

The Bishop arrived late

as Bishops often do

It takes forty years, seven months and seven days

to become a Bishop

“One lump or two?” She turned to the Bishop hoping

to serve him better

Have you ever seen a naked Bishop?

The truth is, a Bishop cannot be naked

or truth might be revealed

Before I was born, I understood the word Bishop to have

hidden meaning

Last night I surprised myself by finding the lost Bishop

(no one ever knew Bishops could be lost)

Bishops in exile, alone and afraid, off guard and broken

glow in the dark

Bishops in turmoil breath fire

It takes a Bishop to know a Bishop, that’s why there must always be two

thus the first syllable—bi

If you decide to shop for a Bishop bring lots of money,

Bishops are expensive

And you must have already heard, Bishops never bargain

and never go on sale

                                                                                                      Published in Pens On Fire, September, 2009

 


BEING A CITY GIRL, I SCREAMED

 
Knowing nothing about low tide, crabs
and what all-sorts-of-fishy-things do
in one-foot-deep water.
 
At first I thought it was disturbed
coming after me, seaweed tangled blur,
far from shore. Stranger that I am
 
I bent down to watch more closely,
as the rippled surface stilled. What’s this?
He’s not alone, claws of another crab
 
beneath him. He’s fucking, I said.
He’s not disturbed, he’s not coming after me.
He’s fucking.
 
Shift of light. No. He’s not fucking.
He’s protecting a baby. He’s a mother crab
protecting a baby. Clouds part—
 
in Vietnam, my ex-husband said,
we could not tell, we could not tell,
were they mothers cradling babies
or bombs.
 

Published in U.S 1 Worksheets, Vol. 56
                                                                                                                     Editor’s pick, 2012 Pushcart Nominee

 


WHAT IS NECESSARY?

 
To construct a boat
to smell the wood, anticipate
the craft, hands busy?
 
To drift in a boat,
already constructed,
no leaks, a rhythmic
motion, 360 degrees
of possibility?
 
To sit in an Adirondack
Chair, on a bluff
high above the tide
while the mind
constructs a boat?
 
To travel in that boat
across a sea of white
a school of light
the smell of salt air
jumping silver
diving wings—
 
To have an experience
or to imagine one?
 

 Published in U.S 1 Worksheets, Vol. 56


SHE 

 

The thought, terror is unavoidable
commingled with a sudden squawk
a bird across the lake.
 
Quivering from the last shot fired
I’m lost, formed a precept
an anti-home in her mind.
 
She envied every moment but the present.
How fresh the spider’s web,
how still the early morning air.
 
Somewhere, not here, a rooster crowed
somewhere, not here, an ocean found land
somewhere, not here, a plane banked in the sky.
 
The decision to head home
became concrete.
She set the gun down.
 
There will be an inquiry
they will demand a written report
time, place, reason.
 

U.S.1 Worksheets, Vol. 59


IT
 
It lapped at the floorboards under the house. It screamed
through the windows, poked holes, made tiny cracks.

It danced with the clouds, teasing, “I’m hardly here.” It
cried all the way to Paris. It never understood my mother.

It rode horses, jumped fences, positioned Itself with authority.
It always kept the mystery alive. It shed its skin every seventh year.

It strode violently across the stage, listening to no one, cumbersome,
awkward. It hated re-entry. It carried a burden, even as it winked

in a crowd. It made me feel beautiful. Twice it polished my toes.
It flew thirty-seven thousand feet in the air, did handstands

on the wings of the plane, blew kisses from the door. It felt
everyone’s pain. Once It reassured a pilot when his hands

started to shake. It learned to respect the familiar, even as
It learned to sip quietly on the unknown.

It learned when to be still and, after many years, It learned how
not to frighten a child. It understood, not everyone

was meant to hear, to see, to fly.

 

Pens On Fire, October 2011

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