ISSN 1545-2859




               KRISTY BOWEN


This season aches of loss,
the blood beginnings of it.
Leaves float the pond’s
pale surface, indicate frost,
and something darkening.

At night, you collect
baneberry, bloodroot,
belladonna, poisonous
things with pretty names.
You dream of maidens
chained to hollow rocks,
open windows, cages emptied
miraculously of their birds.

There is only one poem
you’ve written about him--
it begins in winter,
ends in argument.

The women you imagine
in his bed wear red
lingerie and have accents,
their hair, their scent,
littering the sheets
like flowers.

As always, you are diligent,
your hands moving over his
body, while between your legs—
beats the careful rhythm of a rosary.

There’s a violin spiraling
three flights up, a flurry
of fits and starts.
You say he should go,
mean he should stay.

Night drags its edges.


We are losing daylight now,
each night lingering later
by the streetlamps, jump ropes
curled like adders at our feet.

At home, the rooms are windswept,
reckless, tables overturned,
the kitchen floor lined with glass.
My mother searches the yard
for night crawlers, wildflowers.
Puts another stone in her pocket.

Here, it is always raining--
or beginning to rain--
as we climb the jagged
fence to the cemetery,
play bloody murder
among the infant graves,
their smell of flowers turning.

We sweat beneath thick sweaters,
leaf smoke, something dark
dragging its nails across
the back of our necks.

We are counting even now--
the boy I once kissed,
his lips, his fingers,
sticky, tasting of caramel,
the girl, all red hair
and wildness, who spun
herself from a window last June.
The letters she never wrote.

We turn around in the darkness,
once, twice, three times,
and are lost forever.

Still, we wait for voices
drifting, the silence of
shut windows and early frost,

calling us home.

Copyright © 2004 Kristy Bowen. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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