Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guest-Poems by Jones and Borsten

Here are two poems, one each by Michelle Jones and Sarah Borsten, writers living in the Pacific Northwest:

And Are We Yet Alive

by Michelle Jones

Why does this dirge happen?
Because my body hurts.
Because our ghosts are made
of silk curtains in the
window by the elm.

Must we because of this haunting
and that dirty sheet go wandering
down the steps with a crucifix
and hymn stuttering our softy voices.
And if you get there before I do,
Swing low, Swing low.

And must I wake each morning
broke back to your fist that
warns me of the blinking shut-eye,
and hear the sun buzzing at me
and camouflage my cheek with white,
the same way spilled wine stains
red on your sleeve.

And I erect like a statue with my legs
missing and your sour breath hovering
as your prompt me in the kitchen.
I am without foot, heavy in the chair
and remain with buckets of ammonia
instead of barrels of apples or bed sheets
clean from the washing.

You left me asleep with the quilt I made
and one cheek turned up so that
I could hear the dogs barking
and the bells calling me like a symphony.

The last few days, I told you that nothing hurt.

Copyright 2007 by Michelle Jones
* * * * * * * *

Yelling Fire

by Sarah Borsten

They tell me to yell fire
during personal emergencies--
the kind that would need more
than water to save me.
They tell me to yell fire
because strangers will
call nine-one-one
if they think they smell smoke
and not just cum.
It would be just like
my dreams of slogging
through thick mud,
no one around,
only this time
my lungs stretched past breath
my knees jolting terribly on cement
my thighs sore from holding myself together.
There would be a fire
but no one to put it out.

Copyright 2007 by Sarah Borsten
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