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July 31, 2018 Poetry

two poems

Kristen Rouisse

two poems photo

BEFORE LIFT OFF

Before the plane’s wheels begin spooling air
in an act of contrition 

as if to say                   this place, it’s fine,
                                    but the next—you just wait

we exist as microbes
in the belly of a bird,

fingers uneasy as worms
rising from wet ground.

We all want the same things.
Something other than stasis,   

someone as delicate as the light
gathering loosely atop each wing

telling us that there’s more inside
than congealed shades of sumac.

Above our crowns, the speakers’
crackle a parting message.

            Attention passangers:
           This is your captain speaking.

I do not fear death
but the sight of cul-de-sacs

multiplying amidst their rapid fall;
topographic trypophobia.

So do not be alarmed if my eyes remain shut
until we’ve torn through the last level of cloud 

for soon we’ll touch tarmac 
in someplace truly beautiful.    


LANDSCAPE WITH HUSK AND BEAK

We weave hair through a cornfield;
miles of thread charting our flight,

mapping obscure patterns our boots break
—the small mountains of soil, fragrant and fragile.

Tell me I’ll never be lost again
unless I choose to be so.

Tell me I found safety in a stranger.
Tell me we all do, eventually.

Look—here’s the spot where you first saw
me; a small figure tucked among the green.

How your ribs cracked to let in light.
How my fingers found your shattered cage

and filled it with birds and their recognizable trills;
the untuned lithe of my own voice.

Listen—crows scatter their murder
and we stand at the center;

awestruck by the stalks’ studied slow-dance,
landlocked and crop-circle gold.

image: Mary Ardery


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