Creatrix 24 Poetry

March 2014

 

Selectors: Peter Jeffrey OAM and Flora Smith
Publication Managers: Jan Napier and Gary De Piazzi

  

Contributors: 

John Bird

Moonrise

Graeme Butler

Amidst The Wattle

Sue Clennell

Elegy

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Caressed With The Point
End Point 

Derek Fenton

Mourning Madiba

Margaret Ferrell

That Other Road

Kevin Gillam

(not enough words for those to be tongued)

Fran Graham

The Reading Group

Mike Greenacre

Moon On Monday 

Ann Harrison

The Storyteller

Kenneth Hudson

Marron Fishing

Ross Jackson

To Melt The Igloo

Alexis Lateef

Port Town
The Icarus Question

Mardi May

Between Poems

Alison Matthews

Broken

Carol Milner

Under The Jacaranda

Jan Napier

Once
Turned On

Virginia O’ Keeffe

It Is A Time 

Ron Okely

He Stands Upon The Cockroach f His Dreams

Allan Padgett

Favourite Child
Dark In The Bleeding 

Chris Palazzolo

Figures Qualitative And Quantitative
Australia  

Joyce Parkes

Drinking Water
Is-land 

Lynne Talmont

The Disappeared

Faye Teale-Clavi

Blackness

Rose van Son

At Riverglen
pre-dawn

Gail Willems

Fremantle Prism Prison
The Intimacy Of Silence

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Moonrise

On our back verandah
all the family has gathered
for a full moon ritual. The house
has been turned off, shut down.

At our back fence
eucalypts are assembling;
their ethereal crowns find form
against a tinge of mellow light.

What do you see? – our gameof finding castles
and dragons
in campfire embers – Nothing,
my lie smuggled into the gloom.

A ridge of silhouetted footwear
shapes our verandah’s edge.
Smells of jasmine and fetid feet
invest the interregnum.

What do you see? – but I don’t
want this emerging world to be
anything but itself. Trellis shadows
crosshash our newfound bodies.

The rising moon steps down
limbs of our garden hoop pine;
its bushy end-knobs harbour
lorikeets paired in colourless sleep.

And all this is a kind of coming:
we are baptised, reborn, made whole
by wash of a moon that absolves
every tree, bird, boot and family.

John Bird

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Amidst The Wattle 

Amidst sparse branches of the wattle
Two pale blue butterflies
Suddenly finding each other,
Dancing in unpredictable unity,
A synchronized zigzag,
An impromptu, heightened tango,
Light as the weight of dreaming,
Startling as any two pale blue sapphires
Sparkling in the air.
But look out little gems –
For here fossicks a Willy Wag,
Cheeky, frivolous and sifting.

Graeme Butler

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Elegy

Next door’s hen went to the corner
of the fence to die.
Cats and dogs slink under the house.
But children die everywhere,
the Sudan, Syria, Nigeria.

Sue Clennell

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Caressed With The Point

An eternity of wanton libido
washed your skin, swept its caress
through ravines and dark gullies
meshed with matted hair.
Held the scent to creep
into each crevice of you.
Touch the electric feel of flesh on flesh
in excited anticipation.

How the breath labours its ragged edge
deeper, harsher in exhalation
only to fall in collapse.|
The surrender and domination
curled into each other’s frantic grasp.
The frenetic presence of self
devoured by the voracious need
of tongue on tongue.

The exquisite dining on exotic morsels
tucked into the crease and fold of you.
An adventure in every lick.
And still the world moves oblivious
to the constant rotation of lovers
and wives, call girls and strippers
kept to the dark shadow of fantasy.

Each trick, each supple movement
choreographed to the secret desire.
Building, trashing in the escalation
higher and higher until there is no more.

No more breath, no more movement.
A stasis of surrender where
there is no separation
no distinction of self.
Only the point of light
exploding, consuming
in the ultimate gasp.

The expelled “oh God”
point of divination where God is
and was  on the tip of the tongue.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

End Point

The hard, real world at the wing of us
stirs the current, dips the flesh of us
and swifts away what may come.

______ two sea shells
______ pirouette
______ in the waves

Flips an introverted day
into a night of excuses and wild motions
that simmer through the longing look.
Cascade eyes that drift and hold
to curves and flesh.
The slow grind lacking subtlety
in the eager consumption of air.

______ sapling
______ tied to wild gyrations
______
lead by wind

Left to intoxication, memory falters
wipes out, as lights glare and music
collapses to noise, the staccato thump
pounding, drawing back to itself.
A single note in the cacophony of night.
A tremor caught in the dark expanse
of uncertainty shimmering towards the edge
the point of falling over.

______ butterfly
______ its last spiral
______ to the ground

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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Mourning Madiba*

Why is the sky crying today
more than usual for December?
Madiba has just passed away-
Why is the sky crying today?
It’s time for us to remember
everything that he had to say.
That’s why it is crying today
more than usual in December.

Derek Fenton

* Nelson Mandela

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That Other Road
______
after Robert Frost 

I stride along it –
that other road in the wood
and find the path full
of surprises:  rocks and twists
to make me falter,
a still point of calm water,
the sun breaking out
and greenness in my being.
To take that other
road meant risk but also a
certainty I  could
not deny.  This certainty.
comes but rarely in a life.

Margaret  Ferrell

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(not enough words for those to be tongued) 

so you’re better tonight
but
read better as bandaged

and you’ve had instincts of
nine,
two bars plus fermata,

but as you ascend the
bricked
serendipity of

the blind you begin to
fear
what the morrow might bring.

so see it as a jour-
ney
down the fingerboard of

‘cello, from middle C
to
aural stratosphere, hear

it as the primaeval
wash
of chords i to vi, you

as flotsam, tossed, pikefish,
one
eye away from weed. for

now, collapse into this
temp-
orary place of ease.

what hovers? velour wait-
ing
room, lino moment. door

begins, he opens. in
breath,
“your scans, yes, they’ve come back”

Kevin Gillam

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The Reading Group

I had really enjoyed the novel.
It had substance
and wonderful characters
survivors mostly
a spinster
a couple of crazies
an amputee
an over-zealous priest
and a homosexual.

The discussion moved along nicely.
Then –
Freaks!  she said
They’re all freaks!
I want to read about normal people.

I was just beginning to like her
when she vomited this up.
In my quest for like-minded
women one can trust
she suddenly didn’t rate.

As she seemed such an expert
on freaks and their unsuitability
to be characters in novels
I decided not to mention I had
a daughter with mental illness
two damaged brothers
a son-in-law in a wheelchair
a disability myself
and that I was a lesbian.
As I left the café
I struggled to stay upright
under the weight
of my disappointment.

Fran Graham

Recently Highly Commended in the FAW Tasmania Norma and Colin Knight Poetry Award.

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Moon On Monday

There’s something about
the moon on Monday,
this time of night
when the air is as still
as a vacuum, life echoing
like an empty room.

And you out late walking
with Julie and our baby
pushing our domestic yard
down streets, leaving
an extended verbal trail,
the steady moonbeam
coaxing you on, reaching
out further than words.

The familiar neighbour’s
lights stare their welcome
and cicadas count out
your steps like a coded
password, as Ben the dog
barks through the shadow
of grass trees creating
an imaginary shield.

Yes, there’s something
about the moon on Monday,
this time of night, as if
it knows I’m here alone
waxing and waning
what’s within.

Mike Greenacre


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The Story Teller

Opened,
the truth spills like guts
painful
raw
as the story teller speaks.
She is at their mercy
she hears her life, for the first time.
Her mind spins
numb
deep within a scream
primal.

 It starts to rain.

The sun has taken leave.
No rainbows.
The cradle was empty
she cannot block it out
the truth
indelible.
Now she aches,
sobs
rocks.
A chill,
not wanted
no more doubt.

Ann Harrison

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Marron Fishing

At this time in summer ?
Utter madness.
______ But the kids nag us
with last night’s drunken promises.
The dam’s a stinking muddy jungle
______ rotten branches & forest crud.
The creek a desperate trickle.
A few tiny hopeless “pools”.
_________ A hole-filled net & bucket.
Miraculously we find one.
_________ A barely-shelled tiddler.
Too young we tell the kids.
Let it live.                    Grow bigger.
They’re disappointed but see reason
______ in that so gently place it back.
God knows how long it’ll last.
We trudge home    grubby   sweaty
____________ but tired kids are happy.
Our total attention their real catch.
Women grateful for the afternoon rest
____________ so I guess it was a success.
The boys do boisterous boy-things
______ but the pubescent girl is silent.
________ I can see what she’s thinking.
Too young.                   Let it live.
Skirting the edges of what God is.
She at least caught something big. 

Kenneth Hudson

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To Melt The Igloo

____________ She freezes
over the couch,
her head bows under
the probe of a 50’s
standard lamp.
____________ Pre-packaged, friendless
days congeal and whiten
like baking fat.

____________ From her kitchen
she sees out to threadbare washing
receives from outdoors
the chill of a wattle bird’s
screech.

Isolation concentrated in a lit fag.
____________ On facing the mirror
what she sees on her own face
is the head of a mop.

____________ To melt the igloo of
her contracting life, she
solicits the sun, bending
her back in backyard
vege garden.

____________ As she breaks apart
straw mulch, clustered
slaters bolt and above her
bracelets of scarlet bottlebrush
hum with bees and colour.

Ross Jackson

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Port town

By day she sees them
framed against the sky,
gleaming steel and paint,
steady hull, stern and bow
and sun flashing on portholes.

She doesn’t mind the cold
or the seagulls that
crowd her at midday.
She likes being close
to a line of departure,
to structures brimming
with a promise of going,
the sloping beach where
she sits to watch the sun
sink somewhere
beyond her vision.

The town is a bustle of
tourists and day trippers,
locals soaking up cider and sun,
coffee-dry laughs
and the smell of fish,
narrow, art-peppered laneways
and the old man on the corner,
playing the concertina.

She doesn’t think of planes now
when she thinks of flight;
at night she dreams of
a picture frame
without the picture,
of steel and paint
and portholes gleaming
like pale eyes in the dark,
watchful, unwavering,
piercing her with
inanimate understanding.

Alexis Lateef

first published Uneven Floor

The Icarus question

Crossing a highway
I can see from the corner
of my vision
the twinkling dot of a car,
leading the next burst of traffic
I have enough time but
as I cross imagine impact,
skin crushed against steel and
the high probability of being thrown straight up,
considering highway speed,
considering the speed the car
will actually be doing
I imagine, in the six seconds
while I’m crossing,
the rush of air a farewell kiss,
arms spread out reaching
a crescendo in the sky,
horror heavy eyes tracing my arc,
and for a moment, just myself,
lighter than bone,
flying through the air
like I am reaching for the sun
So I wonder, crossing to
the safety of the other side,
my own morbidity surprising me,
whether human beings will
ever stop wanting
feathers, the sky,
to be burned by the sun

Alexis Lateef

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Between Poems

In the calm between poems
the poet trawls through
the journal of lost words;
reels in a line left dangling,
lure for a thought in the ebb
and flow of a rhythmic sea.

And then,
__________________ the tidal wave.

In a dry spell between poems
the poet searches the sky for
a coalescence of cloud,
for that flash of lightning,
a random fall of summer rain;
the ‘if’ and ‘when’ of drought;

And then,
__________________ the storm breaks.

Mardi May

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Broken

Pieces of life’s puzzle
fell into place
the moment
I heard your words…

Hours spent sharing
the details of the fabric
that makes us who we are…

Foot steps taken knowing
we share the same view
even though you
see the sun
when I see
the moon…

Broken

The word spins
continues to spin
through my thoughts

Broken

Do I have to face it?

Broken

The details in the fabric
change
but stay the same…

We still share the same view
even though you
see the sun
when I see
the moon…

Broken

Alison Matthews

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Under the Jacaranda 

I.
This I know,
heart’s blood – Pohutukawa,
Rata, flowers
red. But what is this –
this fine singing hue, this
Jacaranda? I thought the sky
was blue.

II.
We need new words, said the radio announcer,
words for the new technologies, words for
the brave new world.

But I’m down the garden, I said. Under the Jacaranda.
Besides, I’m not finished naming the old world yet –

Let him stride off, like Burke and Wills, into a
brave new world. All their camels, horses
and cabbage tree hats didn’t save them, nor bring
them back to Coopers Creek a half day earlier.

What use was ‘DIG’ carved into that tree’s bark?
What use the buried letter, full of words?
No thank you, I say to the radio announcer
with a wave  – Go ahead without me. 

I’ll stay here, reclining, like the Buddha,
wondering at sky and tree – loosening my attachment
to ‘purple’, ‘blue’ and ‘indigo’; waiting for the next perfectly
strange flower to fall and kiss my bare arm. 

III.
Inside this purple globe
one pendant seed pod

swings. Is it disguising
the plurality of winged

black seeds –
new worlds of purple?

Or is this swinging whirl –
this ‘O’ inside the tree’s

own world to be the last
word of all in an ancient

language, we never
really knew?

Carol Millner

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Once
______
i.m.Lorraine

She is grown small in the bed    hesitant
hiss of oxygen replaces her answers.
She is adrift as jellyfish clouds
below the surface
Reckitts blue rinse knotted and flat
lids closed   lips parted   she dreams
whitebait with lemon and pepper
paua patties     licks at memories.
A touch rouses for goodbye
a kissed cheek    “love you.”
Roses drink in the silence
scent the room with once.

Jan Napier

Turned On
______
an ode to ironing

Steamy and mysterious     a relationship tropical as the Congo
connection   galvanic and sudden as stepping on an electric eel.
You know how it is     a pile of crumpled clothes
the heat between us      me stroking your back
you quiescent    permitting me to press my suit
rhythm a therapy that helps straighten out material concerns.
Our accord allows us to damp down any potential hotspots
get things straightened out.
Familiar as we are with each other’s foibles
I know which buttons to press to make you spit and hiss
like King Cobras      know that if left alone too long
your temperature rises and I’ll return to a skirt
scorched as Saharan sands.
I press you to my breast    relax those arthritic legs.
Rest now   relive porn star reveries but never dream of leaving.
Witches cannot abide cold iron and I would be such a mess
without you.

Jan Napier

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It Is A Time 

It is a time for small birds
with slivers of song and whispers of sound.
A reflection of movement just out of sight
in the day’s burnished light,
Silveryeyes playing catch me.
Disembodied crows paint swathes of tar behind the trees.
Parrots ring bells; magpies chortle in summer.
Were I blind I would know them still from their throats.
And on the ground the ravages of gumnuts.
Black cockatoos are passing through.
Driven from eastern farms dismayed by drought.
Where
every year the trees
grow fewer.
In the endless blue
of horizon and heat,
where can they fly to?
It is a time for small birds.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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He stands upon the Cockroach of his dreams

I’ve always been a bit in awe
of cockroaches
somewhere between utter revulsion
and fierce admiration
of their sheer resilience
to be among the oldest winged insects
still alive and active
so when I spy one
running across the footpath
I resist the urge to step on it
Inside my yard  Yes  I don’t hesitate
But outside on the public thoroughfare
I think
that my stepping on a single cockroach
is hardly going to put a dent in the total population
of cockroaches  on the planet

They are  one of the most primitive insects
A living fossil
They must have something going for them
to have defeated the odds for so long

Not everyone despises them
Nor have they through the years
Generally they live with their relies
to third and fourth generation
They are unaffected by the housing shortage
Feed on wood
Mashed with sugar they were once
Applied to cancers and ulcers to heal them
A mixture containing their ashes
has been drunk to kill worms
In powdered form they were sold commercially
as Pulvis Tarakannae
as a remedy for dropsy
Fried in oil with garlic roaches have been eaten
to aid digestion

But please do be careful
remembering that dieticians today
over and over again tell us
that we are what we eat

Ron Okely

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Favourite Child

I entered you last night
as the sun shone on the opposite
side of the world
and soft rain fell outside
and slowly, but desperately –

the texture of you
the taste of you
the smell of you
the flexing muscle of you,

your tongue flicking
snake-like,
tasting and probing,
your succulent lips
your panting swollen breasts
your rigid suck-me
nipples
your eyes wet with
desire,

your galloping pace
and frantic fuck-me
thrusting –

it sent me on a hot
road

of thinking, where memory
spilt over and drenched
me, as your cavalcade
of tears cascaded over
me, as you arched and
groaned, and you gently moaned,

I love you

I might have died then
and died happy,

such was the power and
the beauty, and the
deep hot wet confirmation

of your woman-ness
of my man-ness
of our saturating need
of our wetted history
of our joint desire –

_________ of your love

And I lay awake
for hours, the pain of
physical separation at
that withdrawn moment,

curbing my craving,
wiping clean the
slate, restoring my
masculinity, waking again my
cock-

and reminding me
of how lust is love’s
favourite, and sometimes
______       only, child.

Allan Padgett

 

Dark in the Bleeding

Last night I saw a Komodo dragon
______ brawling with same, tearing flesh,
______ biting hard – a flood of blood.

Two boys, brawling for love, looking
______ to score, gotta get that DNA
______ stitched in, hard, long and fast.

Reminds me of the mean streets of
______ Numurkah, mid 60s,
______ naked testosterone battles in the street
______ brawling punching kicking
______ in search of ………
__________________ love.

Dark pursuits, blood
______ in the gutter
______ hearts aflutter.

She was mine, my girl, lost then to the greater thug,
______ whose brutal charms might well
______ ensure his genetic continuity, but at what cost.

Empty condom wrappers infest the
______ park, love lies bleeding in the dark,
______ frog-eating tarantulas
______ suck on my brain – I step forth, am
__________________ punched again.

It is sweet, this brief summer of love,
______ where passion lies, dark in the bleeding,
__________________ and youths establish, maintain and
__________________ guard their patch
______ secure their snatch
______ embrace a fuck
__________________ half their luck –
______________________________ for now.

Allan Padgett

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Figures Qualitative And Quantitative 

In the past the coarse fabrics draping figures
on a country lane or a city street compelled
accounts of toil and proximity to animals, but here
the labels are too neat and cheap
the bodies they cover too sated to single out
individual stories, so I just watch, from my table,
with my coffee and newspaper,
the perambulatory patterns along the concourse,
the pollinating cash-drops
in the shops. Some would call this
a sleepwalker’s plenitude, but I assert
wakefulness among my fellow cashed-up
loiterers; this is a human drama
on another plane, benign and restless, daily
and forgetful. On the other hand perhaps
we are asleep, our combined bodies, dressed
in manufactures, a humming epiphenomenon
of walking and buying, standing and selling,
a dreamy symbolist play in a retail amphitheatre
where the sleepless hunger
of sweatshops is oblique figures in business pages.

Chris Palazzolo

Australia

Pull the two blue discs to focus –
__________________ churning flecks of foam
____________________________________
and sky.
It’s not the smell of diesel and sea air
that’s driving him mad. Not the sun
boiling the blisters in his skin. Not the sput-sput
engine or the parching waves thumping
the hull every second after second after second.
Even the memory of that brute counting
his father’s cash has lost its rage. Only Australia,
invisible in that iris of lurching sea, fills him
with futility – without him they’re blind,
but when he hears the children crying
in the hold, and thinks of safe classrooms,
his weeping eyes scream at the touch of binoculars.
Pull the two blue discs to focus –
__________________
churning flecks of foam

____________________________________ and sky.
Watching for a grey prow.

Chris Palazzolo

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Drinking Water
______
With thanks to L.F.

in Mirrabooka

six homeless people
from the Pilbara
awaiting medical treatment

in Perth’s 2013 winter,
got their drinking water
by asking Lyla (who lives
nearby in a house with
a tap producing drinking
water just like that) for some
or waited
for the sky to weep.

Shelter could not be
found, the empowered
pronounced they
do not fit the criteria
.

Joyce Parkes

Is-land
______
With thanks to L.E.

Is hearing the homeless
in this country
being told to be brave,
protestors to feel safe,

the jobless to move their face
elsewhere, the frail not to be
phased by senescence
when frost or fire days prevail,

witnessing the paw of dismay
hitting the vulnerable?
Is noting a disdain for
the reticent, the unwell,

the weary, the neglected,
noticing that a selected
few use the elbow of
existence to profit from you?

Is praise for the ones one could
gain from and belittle
the rest, assisting or arresting
the wrist of progress?

Joyce Parkes

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The Disappeared

All the dawns I missed while sleeping,
the stars and moons ignored;
not by chance Orion’s belt was missed
and Pisces nightly undisclosed
by purpose of the sleeper,
lost in her legitimate escape
where all the disappeared are met again
instantly recognisable
by shape and size and colour
exactly as if they’d just left the room.

Lynne Talmont

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Blackness

The dark image of night
a canvas that blankets all
until the moon takes a peek
its slender half circle cuts the page
teams with the stars, like asterisks one by one
the cosmos has gleamed to life
blackness has been fragmented
to convey an indigo coat
to hover and gaze from above
then to walk away at dawn

Faye Teale-Clavi

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At Riverglen

In the dell, a fig tree
not yet ripe in late November
fronds wide as my palm

on each branch
six or seven figs
like those we once ate

if we return in a month
we will feel the flesh bite our teeth
the juice paint our chin

we will see again
the white sap of fig
as it drips into milk

as it sets the creamy-cheese
of childhood

Rose van Son

pre-dawn

as the sky lifts
silence swings into the day
a bee flounders
tastes the honey of summer

Rose van Son

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Fremantle Prism Prison

I
The moon rises like a fingernail
petal soft notes of roses
powder the air in highs and furrows
the women wait  in semi-darkness
abandoned to walk their own paths

II
she carries breath of cinnamon    coffee
feels a presence as if walking inside his ghost
hands grip the edge of a smile
coiled scrolls of wire stretch the past
a black lace glove glides sideways
fingers the strands of a silence

sun unrolls through the tunnel
engulfs shrouds    shadows    walls
glistens them in paper-bark colours

III
bound to phantom boots a tang of soured skin
voices that stutter behind their eyes
stitch stories to places where whispers slither
over bones    sink into stone
do souls still swim in these  molecules of air ?

lives hang in absence    a shadow space
in this mirror of time

IV
I look up from this notebook
where woven experiences have shaped their stories
into a new type of  tapestry

Gail Willems

The Intimacy Of Silence
______
journey of an intravenous line

In a great stillness I am undressed in whispers
snaking smooth skinned and warm
I drip a luscious ruby to a marbled limb
my metal gouges a soul on a hook – a naked arm
flings a crimson fret of notes – air balloons
little times in nothingness ticks its way
to a moment of release

Fingers elegantly choke the flush of warmth
to my coiled red belly – suddenness of inaction
cups the last drops – falls in minor breaths to a final exhalation
and I am free to shiver and twirl in my nakedness
until gathered and hooked to a metal cold pole
on a deathbed surrounded by dials that neither smile nor frown
comes the termination of our meeting

Gail Willems

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