Featured Poets

Carolee Sherwood & Jill Crammond Wickham

( New York )


The Seamstress Turns on Herself

In a dream where your chest multiplies, 
sharp scissors gleam 
just out of your grasp. 
Why reach for the blade 
when you can open your eyes? 
Open your eyes! 
Open them! 
Before the cut is made, 
before the scraps drift to the floor. 
One day you will need twice the bosom, 
twice the love and blood. 
Open your eyes 
to shapes already carved out of you: 
the gingerbread children you chase, 
the apple-shaped heart you slice for pie, 
the tired nursery rhyme of your daily life.
Ladybug, ladybug, can you still fly? 
Make button holes of your spots, 
sew your children 
to the other side. 
Can you still fly? 
Away to the dream where your chest multiplies, 
where sharp scissors nip at your wings.
Sew your eyes closed. 
Itís time to fly blind.

How To Mourn

Roll the children in ruby leaves.
Plunge a face in a tub of swimming apples.
No-one here can swim.
No-one wants to learn.

Plunge a face in a tub of swimming apples
The head is your life jacket
No-one wants to learn
how to save the bodyís heat.

The head is your lifejacket
too dense to hold you up.
How do you save the bodyís heat
from the killing frost?

Too dense to hold you up
your fear of water betrays.
From the killing frost
comes a message of weakness.

Your fear of water betrays.
You wipe the dew. From your lips,
comes a message of weakness.
Youíre not scared, are you?

You wipe the dew from your lips,
consider the apples, their crimson history.
Youíre not scared, but are you
prepared to bare your teeth?

Peel back your scarlet lips.
No-one here can swim.
Longing to be plucked from water, they 
roll the children in ruby leaves.

Authorsí note: Both poems were written collaboratively, alternating line by line in their first draft forms and edited later to enhance language and line breaks.

Next - Askold Skalsky


Current Issue - Spring 2009