Trinkets in a Closed Drawer


Annette Marie Hyder
( Apple Valley, Minnesota )

        for Victor 

I don’t want you to think that I think too much of myself
so I modestly fold my wings.
They tickle my sides, airbrushing their secrets swishing
like breaths against my inner ear. 

Their downy warmth cocoons me
hidden blankets that weigh me down pinning
me to the bed of your expectations. 

I wrap myself in them tighter
and sweat it out
finding that feathers don’t do well when wetted with sweat
and that pinions that have pumped Pyrenees heights
will atrophy nonetheless. 

When I finally show you that which I use to soar
to elevate to launch myself aloft
they are crumpled and disarrayed
broken in places where you mistook them for linens
and tucked them in – 

specifications made up with army corner precision
to your expectations. 

You suggest laundering and tailoring
these dirty useless things if not entirely throwing them out
and you generously offer to refurbish-furnish-finish and decorate
for me. 

I contemplate how much these bedraggled wing-blankets mean to me
think about cutting them off, tying them together like a rope
to lower me over the edge of this unexpected precipice;
realize that I am accepting escape where once I rejoiced in flight
marking the fine distinction 

and make of them a Super Hero’s cape
before I take the plunge. 

Vicki Hudspith
( New York, New York )
April 1

Though this is the day of fools
And I may be fooled again
Into believing pranks of the heart
I would not hold the sky in judgment
For the rain it brings or exhale the breath 
You released into my lungs in an alley of graffiti and brick
As the fabled night presses against your favorite truths
Which others tell you are lies

Since I do not read from the book 
Which soaks in the depths of stillness
I am counted on as easily as a sleight of hand 
Forgotten phone numbers or lost golf balls 
At the bottom of a game called hope

On sunny days, a window opens for five minutes
Admitting your memory
An illogical screen on which
We humans evolve, shaking hands 
Without closing the covers of the dictionary
Marked to reveal the secret lives of the ancient poets
Who traveled from town to town as casually 
As a blown newspaper								

This is the heart that pulls you toward time
Buoyancy in the disguise of tomorrow 
Convinces you to photocopy my sighs

This day for fools is a day for love
Not the pragmatic gray sky which absorbs my light heart

These five minutes are the gift of sight
Language without resignation

This day has not come to terrify
An hour is all it represents								
In each human act, we honor what we love
I swallow fire
So that I may breathe the monsoon season again			
And caress the air with an open palm
Because you once walked there

Behind fatigue are smoky adjectives
That describe me as sorrow 
Please forgive me this juggernaut of raindrops
And the luxury of a world without lies
For here I am again 
Not a debutante or even a doctor’s daughter

Now I can tell you what happens when the sun sets
And darkness folds its softened wings around a day
It is the end of the last sentence in your favorite book
I am not the trouble of angels
I became an angel, as children without adults must do

We warm to light bulbs in a world without fire
Lit by an open window’s reflection
If you allow me, I’ll take your hand
Someday perhaps I will let you take mine

For here is the force of a door banging wide
A misinterpretation of shadow
As hunters from a land of light become fearful 
That darkness will not comfort them through night

Speak to me of sandwiches and colors that match
Unwind the world from its spool of secrets
Tell me it’s only bread and butter with sugar on top
And let me claim the air 

Tell me what food was prepared for you
How you slept
How you know the things you know
Before the inhalations of evening close

Ward Kelley
( Greencastle, Indiana )
What the Ghost Thinks Today

The ghost kisses the top of a woman's head,
dutifully, and thinks he understands why
a woman would find happiness in this.

He thinks he knows how the blood rushes
through his veins, or how breath pulses
through his lungs, but like any other dead
person he understands nothing at all,
but only thinks he knows something
about the physical world.

He has tricked himself into being alive.

The woman underneath the kiss could tell
him much more about this trick of life,
but she has learned the more you tell
a ghost, the more he takes this knowledge
in a completely false direction.

For instance, she knows the flow of blood
through veins matches or mimics the breath
of the robin's chicks outside the window,
nesting within the oak . . .
to Nature everything is metaphor,
but the ghost would want to turn this
knowledge into a song, or worse,
a poem.

Arianne Zwartjes
( Tucson, Arizona )

difference hangs
in the air, spilled
almost unintentionally into conversation,
children laughing
telling stories
until out it tumbles and there
it is on the table,
a green toad no one knows what to do with,
everyone wishes would disappear:
we all manage
not to shriek	only by subsiding
into silence.
Evacuation instructions 
to escape a difficult 
be silent
laugh a lot
pretend you
		did not hear.

Melanie Faith
( Mercersburg, Pennsylvania )
Secret Drawer
Everyone has his secret drawer. This was mine.
—Charles Wright

A place to store what isn’t 
from what there was: nothing left,
bottom of the bureau. My nighttime needs, 
the collection of what never came 
keeping me a vigorous non-company.
As those who hold a wake,
neglectful of spirit’s passing,
so too the body dormant I cling 
to a scrap of paper in my own hand 
labeled “promise, past.” The snapshot 
blur from a starless early evening, flowering
bodies under the veil of one great white whirl;
the card, as a check uncashed, three-years post-
dated, embossed with the pink, curlicue 
love letters naming me Mother, signed with your name 
for the child who wasn’t scripted there; the theme-song 
jewel-cased anthem of anniversaries, uncelebrated 
time’s passing we never danced, but the specter 
still sings, “At Last.” Tucking away the trinkets 
of a closed drawer closing, I open 
to slow-swaying dreamless sleep, 

At Kinvara Harbour, Co Galway by Fred Johnston
( Galway, Ireland )

Duane Locke
( Tampa, Florida )

Astymeloisa carries scissors and sways,
A thousand black butterflies fly between thorns.
I have a nostalgia for yellow roads.
The voice of the sky falls like broken glass
On the green-gold fields of autumn.
In April I flew like Ariel, her eyes, amethyst.
Now the gullies are vermilion, have no red waters,
Edges of cormorant wings clipped by clouds
I long for the spread of black end feathers.

Rebecca Hinton
( Arizona )
"I ask the artist"

I ask the artist
 mold  me
what is  there ?
you taste salt
     in the wound
in the ivory
you  hear  wolves
   in tree lined darkness
what are you ?
I show him  the key
the manifest  leaves
   along the nightfall

II - A Wrinkle in the Trees
III - Becoming a Fish
IV - Closer to the Cosmos

Featured Poet - Eleni Sikelianos
Sikelianos Feature, Page 2

Afterword - A Poem by Nell Maiden

Current Issue - Summer 2003