Scribendi USU Creative Writing Contest – Graduate Poetry – 3rd Place
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson Vermont: Residency; Poetry
Alice Abel National Literary Awards: Poetry - First Place: Birth
When he leaves the hands of heaven
will they cry, hold vigil like we do
when one of us leaves earth?
Will they console one another with promises
of a better place for him?
Do they even know where he is going
or have they just heard about the light
at the end of the birth canal?
I'm sure they will miss him.
Living or non-living
without someone you love has to be hard
no matter where you are,
especially if you're not sending them
to that 'better place'.
Is that finally-at-peace line used there
as the child makes the exchange to
where he must learn to live despite life?
In all the near-death experience tales
no one talks about a swift slap to the rear-end
to start your breathing. Perhaps
that is only a local custom, a foreshadowing
of what we have entered.
In my pain I will cry out,
matching a different voice to those he leaves
but the moment of exchange will pass
he will be here and I will whisper for them,
"I have him now, he is in my arms
and this is a very good place."
This place where the earth yawns
we travel over her tongue breathing her heavy exhale
green with mineral, moss and millennia of staccato
drips from tonsils shaped like things
found only in nightmares and caves.
It is right something as large as Earth
should have such a mouth. Arched rooms
like stadiums filled with monsters,
beautifully ugly in their inanimation.
Wrinkled octopi, long tentacled squid,
gnarled arthritic fingers to comb
Medusa hair, and like Latino sightings of the Madonna,
faces and forms stare out from corrugated stone
lifetimes in the making.
The dark moves with us through even the grains of light
through centuries of growing earth.
A crystal cascade solid in white glimmer against the supernatural black,
gazes toward our muteness
knowing in its silence it has lived our lifeline a hundred times.
We cannot stay here now, in this throat,
in this depth that is our mother
where we can no longer breath
where not even the stars can shine
where it is too far backward for us to remember, and forward
to a time of which we do not think.
Adjustments to Genesis
The apple was not the forbidden fruit,
it was the mango.
AND… it was Adam, not Eve
that removed the skin
like a tight fresh dress
slick flesh open,
sweet, wet, ripe.
He placed it on her lips
as if he knew what he was doing,
slid a sticky course
between the first untouched fruits,
promised with a serpentine smile
to lick the sticky juice of sin
clean from her skin.
Eve watched his eyes,
the songs of the doves
receding, the new ache
of her flesh
and even Cherubims and the flaming sword,
so diligent in their guard,
could not stop the fateful
entry to Eden.