Thursday, May 1, 2008

Shelley Little

My Own Sense of Style

Waiting in the grocery line
the headline of In Style reads:
Charm bracelets are the new chic
The gold glimmers in my head
When she was born
he gave me a gold charm bracelet
with a heart dangling delicately
and her name engraved in the center
A family heirloom to pass on
when this baby had babies
The next year cultivated another charm
Letter A for his name
Another year churned yet another charm
A sapphire for his birthstone
The children’s charms conclude
with a vasectomy clasp
Then came charms for
his business trips
For his trip to Finland
I was given a gold boat
because I stayed home with children
while he was charming clients over caviar
For his trip to Australia
a gold kangaroo
Again, I stayed home with the children
Then came a turtle for the trip to…
I cannot remember as I was too busy
with fevers that could make liquid gold
I think it is time to toss
this chic charm bracelet
to my daughter
and get my own sense of style

Marriage Bed

I fold under end corners
in my militant manner
as though this task has meaning
Tugging the coverlet tight
I notice a ridge in the middle
Winter frost fragmented along its peak
One slope steeper than the other
Telling which valley he sleeps in
His valley deep enough
for lush life to grow at the base
of this mountain between us
My valley echoes the shallows of my life
Then I accordion the damask duvet
So sleepy hands can unravel
to cover our chill


Before the sun’s fingers
reach in and pry my eyes
with its poker tips
My son’s fingers
already stuck to my lids
as he plucks my eyelashes
like guitar strings
In tune with uninvited crows
Caw Caw
at the window
In my mind’s eye
I crawl out of bed
and slingshot that feathered
raucous up to roast
in the sun’s cockcrow heat
No, I would not eat crow
Just fly back under covers
while my son
strums me a lullaby

Layers of Us

The steel blade cuts
through pearl-like skin
Juice oozes
A rainfall of tears
trail mud down dust-filled
grooves in my face
Layers of this onion
peel back like years of our life

Early years of marriage
were like a famine’s craving
for a taste of our skins
But legend says
onions can produce offspring
in the bellies of women
So came my mother years
as a side dish
pickled in vinegar
As our shallots grew
we realized our rings
represent eternal life
We stayed together
We would not peel apart

In the fall storage of our lives
Our cores may be rotting
Our skins paper thin
But we simmer with flavor


Moths to the moon
These children navigate around me
I cannot hold the helm
I am no compass
This wolf moon pull has taken command
I swell as
an ocean’s rising tide
My port of patience is flooding
Pressure building
Sea walls crack
Predatory powers give way
and thunder through the wall
I will make these insects submissive
I am a terror for a moth-er
Moth wings
echoing in aftermath
Struggling to fly
Innocence scarred
in the violence of high tide
I am a puppet
spinning in the consequences
The master waves beating me clean
Pulling my strings
into submission
My rave recessing with the tide
Dripping guilt
I scoop up my moths
and huddle them close
Rebuilding the wall
Until the next wolf moon

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