Curved like a comma
over blue-tasseled handlebars,
the girl puts her foot down
on a fast getaway.
frame her un-marked neck-nape,
revealed between plaits
Mother wove only this morning,
winding hand over hand
until it was time to let the child go
gleaming into rain -slant streets
made slippery with adventure.
Odds are that something else will kill you,
something that hasn’t already been worried
to death, the not in a million years event.
You’ll get caught in a shower of meteors. Planes
and pianos fall from the sky often enough.
I heard the screech, the metallic crumple. The sun
rose anyway, in a shattered goblet, a bubble this red
convertible could easily swallow.
The roadside altar pantomimes a warning. Daffodils
with torn throats loll beneath a string- tied cross,
pictures and messages already dissolving with weather.
Tonight’s eclipse obscures the tongue-drag of yellow
paint over smeared asphalt; the snake full of moon
wakes before dawn.
All night long, it scallops the edge of the world.
In the morning, proceed with caution.
(Pebble Lake Review)
Hand and Foot was inspired by Satie. It was also one reason to use red. First Move
In the life of the body,
my hand against your cheek
forges a connection. The source
of attachment goes deeper than skin.
It's not like a river, which has no source,
appearing out of nowhere, a blindspot,
widening as it gets swept upby a bigger
and wetter version of itself
During our long hard falling in love,
we, nervy puppets, lost control,
our limbs splayed or dangling
In the life of the body, every part
has its advocate. I chose brain over a heart
fat with longing, but now I miss
my young flesh and the life of the gesture.
I touch the landscape of my face.
I put my lips against your lids; my palm
lies against your warm rough cheek.
The waiting room sighs like a deflating balloon.
Sounds float in from under the examining room
that pull a patient up short, fill the eyes with fear.
The physical therapist’s youthful terrors dilate
his own pupils to drowning and once he starts
to talk, he’ll go on and on comparing the nutrition
in snake and jungle rat until my head screams STOP.
I know he can’t. He knuckles my spine and I call
on the same God who abandoned this man’s family
to a killing-field floor. His sneer is a skeptic’s reflex,
his soldier’s posture unsettling.
I only asked questions out of politeness and respect
for his accent. When I offered my stiff back, my gown
had come untied. What else should I have done?
The room was mapped in pain, severe with charts
of what can go wrong inside a person. Nobody I know,
though of that I can’t be certain. I’ve never recognized
a man by his bones.
News--Cheryl has a poem up at Red River Review that has been nominated for a Pushcart.