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Prairie Schooner 80.3 (2006) 85-88
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Preemie, and: Five Months Bed Rest, Weak Placenta, and: Dance, and: Losing, with Ice
PreemieYou're in the right place, all the things
we love are curled. Time wraps its tail.
Women wear tendrils in the rain.
We can't pick you up to prove it,
but you seem to be the pink shell
we've been walking the beach hoping
to find. No? You are a skinned fruit?
The universe's collapsing ear? Yes.
We don't whisper to you but into you.
We say, Come towards us. We say This woman,
this breast is the best we have to offer.
Five Months Bed Rest, Weak PlacentaWhen your life depends upon not moving,
I've found, you know more. We squirm within
the grip of houses. We escape into the yard
the way Monday escapes into Tuesday,
and only the luckiest people on earth
have ever done so. The disappointment
of my life? That I haven't turned into a cave.
Ringing, like movement, must be kept away
from me, but my friends want to call me and say
oh no no no. I tell them that so far
they know nothing of themselves, but I do this
nicely, by not answering. The world can
die inside you, girls. Food, your mouth, your husband,
everything tastes different once you learn this. [End Page 85]
DanceSomething deadly started bringing its teeth around,
scaring the budding noises back into
their translucent skins. So the earth's pounding
crept in and left a piece of itself in your ear. You were alone
with the banging you do on your own door,
the nowhere and everywhere of yourself
that you have no hope of ever picking up
and looking at. You had to do something
about the sticky fly circling you
because it became your heart.
But the arms hadn't happened yet.
Dead as riverbanks. The legs –
muddy streams. Until now nothing required
tendons. Everything required sleep.
Then something died that wasn't you.
The air laid the scent of blood at your feet.
And you brought a twisted movement like a candle
out of the fog of your body. [End Page 86]
Losing, with IcePretty girl. The weather
has gotten to her again, knocked her down
and given her to the lake to wear as a skin.
Why am I always being the weather?
There were many days that winter
when her smile was so lovely I felt
the breathing of my own goodness,
though it remained fetal and distinct
from myself. I was the dusty believer who survives
with a sling and stones, but whose god
nonetheless invents the first small bright bird.
And it was a type of flight to bring food to her lips
with a skeletal hand. But now
she will always be naked
and sad. She will be what happens
to lake water that is loved and is
shallow enough. The thickening, slow
black blood of it. The earth's open-chested
heart attack and the long, dream-lit limbs
of its pallor. God, the silence of the chamber
we watch from. What happens to water
that isn't loved? It undergoes processes.
It freezes beside traffic. But the reaching out
to all sides at once, the wet closing of what [End Page 87]
was open? That is a beautiful woman.
So of course you stand and stare, never able
to pinpoint the exact moment you killed her.