Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cinderella's Diary

Cinderella’s Diary by Ron Koertge 

 I miss my stepmother. What a thing to say,
but it’s true. The prince is so boring: four
hours to dress and then the cheering throngs.
Again. The page who holds the door is cute
enough to eat. Where is he once Mr. Charming
kisses my forehead goodnight?
Every morning I gaze out a casement window
at the hunters, dark men with blood on their
boots who joke and mount, their black trousers
straining, rough beards, calloused hands, selfish,
abrupt…
Oh, dear diary—I am lost in ever after:
those insufferable birds, someone in every
room with a lute, the queen calling me to look
at another painting of her son, this time
holding the transparent slipper I wish
I’d never seen.

“Cinderella’s Diary” by Ron Koertge from Vampire Planet. © Red Hen Press, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Talking About The Day

Each night after reading three books to my two children—
we each picked one—to unwind them into dreamland,
I’d turn off the light and sit between their beds
in the wide junk shop rocker I’d reupholstered blue,
still feeling the close-reading warmth of their bodies beside me,
and ask them to talk about the day—we did this,
we did that, sometimes leading somewhere, sometimes
not, but always ending up at the happy ending of now.
Now, in still darkness, listening to their breath slow and ease
into sleep’s regular rhythm.
                                                    They are grown, you might've guessed.
The past tense solid, unyielding, against the dropped bombs
of recent years. But how it calmed us then, rewinding
the gentle loop, and in the trusting darkness, pressing play.

"Talking About the Day" by Jim Daniels from Apology to the Moon. © Bat Cat Press, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm

She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm by Marjorie Saiser

my mother wants me to
go to college
the closest she has ever been
is this
the dorm
her father had needed her
to dig the potatoes
and load them into burlap bags
but here she is
leaving her daughter
on the campus in the city time to go
we are at the desk
the clerk is wide-
eyed when my mother
asks her if she will
take an out-of-town check
if the need arises
if something comes up
so my girl will have money
even I know
this isn’t going to happen
this check-cashing
a clerk helping me with money
but miracle of miracles
the clerk says nothing
and I say nothing
and my mother feels better
we go to the parking lot
old glasses thick graying hair
she is wearing a man’s shirt
has to get back to the job
we stand beside her Ford and it is
here she undoes the buckle of the watch
and holds it out to me
my father’s watch
keeping good time for him
and then for her
she says she knows I will
need a watch to get to class
we hug and she gets in
starts the car
eases into traffic
no wave
the metal of the back of the watch
is smooth to my thumb
and it keeps for a moment
a warmth from her skin.

“She Gives Me the Watch off Her Arm” by Marjorie Saiser from I Have Nothing To Say About Fire.