Sorting and divvying family photos,
my sister and I find an old envelope.
There’s a picture of mother and father
before they were married,
he’s smiling, his arm around her.

Her face makes us shudder.
It’s the only photo we’ve discovered
where she looks as we remember her.
Rose pushes it away,
but I add it to my pile.

Oh, I really want to tear it up.
But if I do, what of the past?
Her rain of stinging slaps on face and body,
lashing us with dad’s belt after he died,
those caustic remarks that choked us.

Though some say that what endures needs
no pictures, I am left holding this proof
that belongs with all the unhinged,
wild and unmoored parts of the story
that are not known, spoken or heard.

Marina Sanchez

Ocean

June 25, 2017

On Both Knees

June 24, 2017

I want your Monday morning
sleep soaked eyes
dream drenched voice,
lazy bones
‘five more minutes please babe.’

I want your Tuesday afternoon
coffee break,
glasses off, laughter on
‘just hold me for a while
it’s been a hard day.’

I want your Wednesday evening
fingers through hair
teeth nibbling nails
neck craning, eye glazing
‘this paperwork never ends’

I want your Thursday night
drinks for two
bones unbind
muscles let loose
flats, slacks,
‘just me and you’

I want your finally Friday
stretch soul smile,
sun sipping light
from the glaciers in your eyes
fingers unfurl, hand extends
‘c’mon babe, lets go wild’

I want your weekend.
your movie marathon Saturday
reading by the fireplace
kissing in the blankets
want your Sunday morning
orange juice and pancakes
white sheets, tender skin
hair like the Fourth of July
‘let’s not get out of bed today.’

I want your ordinary
and your stress, rest, release
I want your bad day and that terrible night
I want you drunk in my arms
forgetting the place but never my name
I want your lazy and your lonely
and your fist full of fight
I want you everyday
in every way
for the rest of my life

Sanam Sheriff

Selfie

June 24, 2017

Thank you for the selfie
I wish you’d move your hand
I want to see your lovely cock
I want to see it stand –

Before everything is over
I would like to make love to you
the same number of times as a gentleman knocking on a
door that will never open for him.

The same number of times a mirror fails to reflect the spirit
of a ruined man.
The same number of times a young woman
discovers in the middle of a noisy party
that she is alone.

I would like to make love to you like a man
leaning his face from the window of a passenger train to catch
one more look at the one woman he ever
truly adored, but now he must leave behind.

Like a circus performer looking up at a ceiling of trapeze rings,
crazy lights and precarious high wires,
knowing he will never climb that high.

Like a washed up prize fighter reaching for the canvas
because it is his only friend.
Like a bum reaching for a twenty dollar bill
that is blowing across a busy boulevard.

I would like to make love to you
before the passersby pass by
before the falling sun falls out of this world
and into the next, before the brown bear of winter falls
into his magnificent winter slumber.

I would like to make love to you with my forehead
pressed to your naked waist.
with my platelets pulsing in your veins.
With my brain on fire and snow falling on your
hissing flames

I would like to make love to you a hundred times
with the shuddering knowledge of
you, with your frozen smile and untraceable fingertips.
you with your indecipherable dreams.

Because I am doomed to live with you even when I am
without you – you with your incomplete shoulders.
You with your rainbow coloured lips.

You with your empty hands.
Your perfumed silence, your perfect elegance.
You, with the sunlight that leaks out of
your darkness and into my world.

George Wallace

Eating Poetry

June 21, 2017

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

Mark Strand

I will keep broken
things:
the big clay pot
with raised iguanas
chasing their
tails; two
of their wise
heads sheared off;
I will keep broken things:
the old slave market basket brought to my door by Mississippi a jagged
hole gouged
in its sturdy dark
oak side.

I will keep broken things:
The memory of
those long delicious night swims with you;

I will keep broken things:

In my house
there remains an honoured shelf
on which i will keep broken things.

Their beauty is
they need not ever be “fixed.”

I will keep your wild
free laughter though it is now missing its
reassuring and
graceful hinge.
I will keep broken things:

Thank you
So much!

I will keep broken things.
I will keep you:
pilgrim of sorrow.
I will keep myself.

Alice Walker

Secrecy

June 20, 2017

Secrecy flows through you,
a different kind of blood.
It’s as if you’ve eaten it
like a bad candy,
taken it into your mouth,
let it melt sweetly on your tongue,
then allowed it to slide down your throat
like the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath –

And now it’s in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.

You can think of nothing else.
Once you have it, you want more.
What power it gives you!
Power of knowing without being known,
power of the stone door,
power of the iron veil,
power of the crushed fingers,
power of the drowned bones
crying out from the bottom of the well.

Margaret Atwood

The summer my parents lost their marriage
like so many magnets kicked under the refrigerator,
my cousin and I named trees after babysitters
we never had. We lived in our bathing suits,
washed our hair in pond water and sunburned.

(Once, my mother slammed the screen
door so hard, I comforted the hinges.) I taught
my cousin how to make face paint out of spit
and dirt. She taught me to swim underwater.

(Once, I found my father weeping on the bed
they did not share anymore.) On the green carpet
of summer, we played until the cicadas, dressed
in dusk, called us to dinner. We kissed goodnight
and I ran home barefoot in the dark.

(Once, I sat between my parents and placed their hands
in my lap like a seatbelt. I do not remember this.)
To this day, walking at night on that creaking road
still reminds me of wolves.

Sierra DeMulder

The Door

June 18, 2017

The door swings open,
you look in.
It’s dark in there,
most likely spiders:
nothing you want.
You feel scared.
The door swings closed.

The full moon shines,
it’s full of delicious juice;
you buy a purse,
the dance is nice.
The door opens
And swings closed so quickly
you don’t notice.

The sun comes out,
you have swift breakfasts
with your husband, who is still thin;
you wash the dishes,
you love your children,
you read a book,
you go to the movies.
It rains moderately.

The door swings open,
you look in:
why does this keep happening now?
Is there a secret?
The door swings closed.

The snow falls,
you clear the walk while breathing heavily;
it’s not as easy as once.
Your children telephone sometimes.
The roof needs fixing.
You keep yourself busy.
The spring arrives.

The door swings open:
it’s dark in there,
with many steps going down.
But what is that shining?
Is it water?
The door swings closed.

The dog has died.
This happened before.
You got another; not this time though.

Where is your husband?
You gave up the garden.
It became too much.
At night there are blankets;
nonetheless you are wakeful.

The door swings open:
O god of hinges,
god of long voyages,
you have kept faith.
It’s dark in there.
You confide yourself to the darkness
You step in.
The door swings closed.

Margaret Atwood