Other notable works by Robert Arthur Reeves and Sari Krosinsky.
Kenneth P. Gurney-
She fills an old wooden washtub
one bucket at a time,
uses soap to wash away the blues.
Her thin, white cotton dress
spots with water splashed,
retains grease stains from cooking
over the past decade.
The birds in the branches
fail to repair her sad song,
replace the red thread
stitching the white fabric,
replace the missing button
that exposes the inner curve
of her breasts.
His muddy return deepens blue to indigo.
His steady rain of kisses leads to protests,
to a new tear in her fabric,
another button popped and rolling
across the slatted floor.
AN ACCIDENT PRACTICED
A plate slips from my hands,
shatters on the kitchen floor.
Fumbled car keys fall from my fingers
stick in the asphalt.
My first two lessons
on letting go of the dead.
LUCIDITY OF DREAM STATES
The extraordinary arrived yesterday
at two-forty-seven p. m., but it was not
anything special, just an overflow
of ordinary backing up into the house:
just more shit to clean up
as soon as I collect the mop and bucket.
ENOUGH OF METAPHORS
You are the innocent water
I lift from the stream, drink—
which is a kiss of sorts
that makes your body writhe,
twist along the red clay,
the smooth stones,
the long course of gravity,
I sink my hands into you, again,
in an effort to slake my thirst,
try to separate you from yourself,
adjurn my needs, but you
slip through my fingers, carry
away essential oils, wither
fingerprints, as you speak
in soothing tongues.
And I think, Enough of metaphors,
so I can feel the clear flow
of your rhythm as we fuck,
leave the grave behind
as we lose ourselves to the heat
of deliberate hands.
TO BE LOVELY WHEN HE ARRIVES
I won’t wear a blue wig,
bustier, or fish nets for you, baby.
she practices with the mirror,
unconsciously touches her vulva
in the pattern of a chess opening—
queen’s gambit declined.
The bloom of small flowers
uncorked from a sculpted bottle
delegates oil to her dry skin.
But the oven’s baking bread
overpowers her mouth—
saliva hangs at the corner of a lip,
overtly full, plump in its wetness
before the fall, the long silver sting
that deflects off her nipple,
moistens her bare toe.
She pulls up the bib to her overalls,
snaps it into place, decides chewing
a sprig of grass is too cliche,
knows the curve of her breast
touched by blue denim is a rainbow
promising treasure at the end
of its arc.
Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA. He produces the poetry website Origami Condom, hikes the desert and foothills trails, studies the American Civil War, plays softball when in season.
Robert Arthur Reeves-
Taut swelter in the worked limbs
sublimates all the weary meanings.
I can hardly see the mountain silhouette
through the risen green
but know its dense waiting.
Push your streets away,
city of my overflow.
You snag me on your spikes
but I have the backstroker’s arrogance,
smell the way back to the ocean
this desert was,
it crawls off the brown of my skin.
If I call you a sonofabitch
it’s because I don’t know you.
(You’d think.) It’s chicken & egg,
my insomnia & flat pillow soaked
by my colorless fierce head. To
have the perfect skill but the
incorrect nervous system to play the violin,
how will I weigh that against the sacks of living bones
I tote beneath my sugared hide?
You inflicted something at a corner,
a station of your own cross,
that earned you a little mental spit,
your car anyway. (Didn’t see you.)
Love must be the unbelievable power
to bring someone into focus
across inches, in the middle of the night,
who welcomes you enough to dream & snore
beside your writhing.
Then what price the lamebrain turn signal,
the scalp ballooning sweat?
Without the hope of being frankly squashed
in a neat way, as if God wanted me to diet
or go to restaurant school, the bubble
that aims its talon end at my mouth
contains a dark Gothic or Uncial, too smeared
to read on this cheap comic page. Soon
I’ll defeat the need to be of importance,
a nozzle you have to tilt straight down
to get any whip cream on your tart.
Robert Arthur Reeves lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has been writing poetry for more than forty years. Some recent publications include poems in The Chaffin Journal, Skidrow Penthouse, and Fulcrum.
The Other Woman
after The Little Mermaid
After the vows, after the prince slept
rocked like a baby in the cradle
of the ship, I stumbled to the deck,
my stomach rolling with the sea.
What I saw:
The silent girl
at the prow. Moon catching
her hair, her dagger. Plunge
through the air, no splash
to mark her body slicing
the water. White slick of foam.
Oh, I knew why
she jumped. It’s the prince
who needed words.
I saw how her feet faltered,
caught in his undertow.
What could I do?
His love was never mine
Years gone by,
still he speaks of her voice
like the music of waves,
the flash of fins, dark water
closing behind a pale shoulder
like a shut door.
I order his meals,
embroider his cloaks. Would she
envy me? None of us will hear
the notes we strained for.
When it mattered, none of us
In a Jesuit dorm, an existentialist contemplates God
She stumbles to the basement to talk theology
in her pjs. She sinks into a beaten corner
of the couch, sips cocoa from a chipped mug.
Twenty minutes, she’ll be saying something clever
about the Wager, maybe how it only works
if you know which religion to bet on, which fate
to avoid. She never liked the thought of heaven anyway,
never could picture herself inside that perfect circle.
Maybe she’ll say when she plays with God, the dice
are always loaded. It’s her personal mission,
shocking the Catholics. She licks the mug’s jagged lip.
She has no use for any God who prefers unbroken clay.
Artemis, a Modern Hunting Fable
Bow and quiver propped against the bar
between us, she tells me to get her a whiskey,
no rocks. I tongue the salt on my finger
to keep my mouth busy. What can I say
to a woman who’s known everything she wanted
since toddlerhood? I’ve enough trouble
deciding whether I’ve had enough tequila.
Some schmuck palms her waist, says,
“What’s a goddess like you doing in a dump like this?”
“Waiting to give your cat a treat,” she says
and turns him to a gerbil. “No insult worse
than being mistaken for what you are.”
Her face reflects like a moon trapped
in whiskey. My image in her eye
is stag, boar—something wild enough
to chase. I know she’s the hunter
in any relationship. I know what that makes me.
I finger the row of self help books
in search of a schmuck’s guide
to job hunting. “What you people
call hunting these days,” Artemis says,
wrinkling her nose at the thought
or the used book formaldehyde.
The books tell me what I already know,
what she can’t comprehend—the stealth
required, the credentials dropped
like decoys, the camouflage of pressed suit
and perma-smile, and never letting on
how you’d rather have that smile
chewed off your face by your own dogs.
What can a goddess know of a hunt
where the prey has all the power?
Swirling a pinky in her grasshopper,
she tells me about her brother,
how she never sees him
since he moved to the ’burbs.
I can imagine Apollo
lighting the barbeque
with bare breath, telling the kids,
“When I was your age,
you could get a whole cow
for one prophecy.”
Artemis sucks green froth
from her finger. “I can’t remember
the last time we had a good massacre
together,” she says. We’re old virgins,
I think, if refusing to grow up
is a kind of virginity. If I could talk,
I’d tell her I know about brothers.
Though we miss the nights
talking Star Wars and singing along
to Weird Al, we wayward sisters
need them to keep the coals burning
so we can keep chasing lions.
In the end, I’m not worth the price of a good arrow.
Because ’til now, she’s done all the talking
because light licks her naked lips
because I’m another clown juggling shot glasses
because Earth stains her face like a lunar eclipse
because I’ve forgotten I’m talking to a goddess
because I remembered
I say, “Wanna fuck?”
Without even a yawn, she downs her drink,
slips off the barstool. The door shuts
with a pfff behind her. She’s taken the air
from the room. She’s gone.
Sari Krosinsky received an MA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Journal, Arsenic Lobster, Pebble Lake Review, Verse Daily and others. She edits Fickle Muses, an online journal of mythic poetry and fiction.