Blurry I blink open
to Madonna in tacky tiara
and low-riding jeans, time-stop
dancing in a blue-red sepia swirl
before the stars and stripes
skinny arms sprawling bare
exposed hips swirling
bye bye Miss American Pie.
I don’t realize it’s the TV
until the doctor rolls in,
feel needles stiff underskin
sticky circles sucked to my chest
reading faint signs of life.…
When you were five
And I was six,
We would hold hands
Just like this.
When you were nine
And I was ten,
We made a pact
To never tell, and then:
You began to tell me every word
That escaped from your lips, with cold secret stares.
A look or a glance through long
Fingertips. Your beautiful face.
This morning she saw you tumble down
the stone wall. She scrambles to inspect
for scraped knees, soft blood. You are
perfect, unmarred. No scar to tell.
She scoops you back up. You straddle
the bridge rails. Toss pebbles
that ripple across her taut skin.
A picnic of fried chicken and cool
sweet tea, how easy to forget the sun
can slow burn, reflect off the heavy marsh,
and make murky the foretelling:
how fragile this bassinet of bone and blood.
– Rebekah Keaton…
At the peak of my
I almost kill my father
who lost his soul
in the Siberian Gulag.
I plunge a fork into
his vodka-soaked thigh
and run away from home.
I get lost in the woods
and can’t find my way back,
roaming around in circles
on the edge of panic
in my clownish shoes.
I remember the rule of three
from my Eagle Scout training:
I’ll die in three hours in the cold,
three days without water,
and three weeks without food.
At night, I can see the Big Dipper
and follow the stars in the bowl
to the North Star, sure of direction
when I find moss on the north side
of a tree.
I slog through marshes,
searching for a rivulet,
running past clusters of chanterelles
I’d gathered in the past,
when I discover the brackish water
of an estuary that lead to the open sea.
I swim out to a mooring,
help myself to a sailboat,
and sail away.
– Milton Ehrlich…
I will not be seen today &
how does it worry me?
out there a city swells
from river to weeds
like a silvery fish
taking first hesitant steps on land
unnoticed like most history
I hear it serenade with castanets
invisible like me
parts of the same dissolute fluid
we have passed the test
even our scars blank in the opaque
our voices mute
in the gasp of a morning
fat like sorrow
but more like guilt
in how it stays too long
– Ace Boggess…