A Healing Art – Poem

A Healing Art

A girlfriend found one in her breast
while still in college. One day
a woman read her palm and tarot cards,
pressed a hand against her chest,
another to her back, applied white light
and made it disappear. One night

my fingers touch my skin to prove
I am still here, and here, and here –
to forgive a body less than loved or trusted.
I find I cannot keep my hand away, slip my fingers
between lace and blouse, seeking proof
of what I own. I want to take hands

and press them close, say:
here is truth of what I’ve been.
I want to feel white light, the warm remedy
of touch against the poison of my skin.
Instead the surgeon snips me open,

allows the wound to spill like sugar
from a packet, instead the surgeon tells me
that my scars will heal, rubs his hands together
like a cartoon villain on the verge of stealing,
says: I want to warm my hands before
I touch you
, and smiles, assuming humor,

pressing palm against my chest.
I want to hold him there, the weight
compressing tape and flesh, say:
I’ve given you nothing. Say:
I only let you take
what I no longer wanted.

For the We Write Poems weekly prompt.


The Kitchen III – Poem

The Kitchen III

Then there were the times he laid himself out
like a wet sweater on the kitchen floor,
flatout as an ironing board, arms
corpse-crossed against his chest, not like
he’d fallen, just settled there like sediment
undisturbed in a dirty cup. There was Mother
above him, clapping her hands in attempt
to stir him from sleep, clapping as she did
during the cooking day to rid the excess flour
from her fingers. Clapping as if to applaud
the neatness – always her favorite thing –
with which he rolled his body out
atop linoleum in a slim, submissive strip,
prepped to ascend later, vampire-style,
before his children tripped over him
on their way to the refrigerator, or the rise
of day turned up the heat and burned his skin.

Circling the Lot – Poem

Author’s Note: Although I was inspired to post this poem in response to the prompt “Shame” at We Write Poems: (http://wewritepoems.wordpress.com/), it is about triumphing over shame, not succumbing to it. To me, it is a redemptive poem, one of strength, not sadness, fear, or victimization. I hope that comes across in the speaker’s re-visiting the park as the driver of the car instead of the passenger & the re-visualizing of the event to reclaim power.

Circling the Lot

Twelve years later
and the park is groomed
for recess when I visit,
flattened brown by sun
and power mowers,
strips of metal strung
together where fat mothers
sit and watch fat sons
hit pop flys while
the skinny girls cheer.

I drive the car now.
Circle the lot
in my white sedan,
wheels scrape gravel
that skins knees,
the circling a game,
a musical chair,
a cakewalk; a circling
that wants the winning spot,
the spot where he
would park.

He would circle
before stopping, light cut
with a headlight switch, dark
a blindfold as he circled,
spun me blind, directionless,
in his beige El Camino
with the slick brown seat,
pull me in, tight
as leather, stretched
like leather, blood
on the carseat, semen
he would scrape off later
at the carwash with
two quarters and a hose;

after the policeman
and his harsh, official light,
after pulling up his jeans,
after leaving the cardoor
open to take a leak
behind the bleachers,
after leaving my body
open to the tops of trees,
the rain, the moon.

Twelve years later
and I circle, thrust
headlights into darkness
like a flashlight through
a window, circle
to illuminate the lines
that mark the scene, circle
to recover the surety
of sound: the hush
of cars passing, the zip
of denim, groan
of carseat; the sound
of hands; the rip
of satin down thighs;
the sound of doorlocks,
idle engines; the sound
of mothers changing channels
in the dens of houses
behind the diamond; the sound
of baseballs in wet grass
like laughing, rolling moons.