E
Jan/Feb 2001 spotlight

Four Poems

by Natalie Kring


 

Descent

A sleepover, just like old times,
pants Patty as she shimmies
a blood-blotched, possession-packed
pillow sham through my door,
Patty, who once was the girl
who lived in the house with a row
of garage door windows
broken jagged like her teeth,
whose face was a bruised peach
and whose too-ripe body grew
fuzz in places she could not hide
from the hand of the man
who smashed the windows
and sent her mother scampering
next door to my mother
without an explanation why
she begged to borrow sugar
without a cup and why
her empty hands trembled
and her litter scurried behind
and she was so, so sorry
for the inconvenience
and the mud on the carpet
but could she please stay
just long enough
to catch her breath?

 

Conversion

After the Virgin's image
appeared on her palm
and rose to the ceiling
in a swirl of cigarette smoke,

after she saw her Savior
that same night in the dangling
tangle of multi-shaped mirrors
on her black bedroom wall,

after His voice trickled
through the draping mesh
of her lust-shrouding canopy
and hissed sinner,

she resolved to attend a service
and seize a flaskful of Holy water
to sprinkle on her sex-stained skin
just to see it sizzle.

 

First Time (All She Remembers)

iceball moon
frozen to steel sky

jagged rock
snagging supple skin

frigid waves
slapping thighs like a cold, swift hand

 

I Wish You Had

I wish you had laughed
when I told you I used to breathe
into, then quickly clasp, plastic Easter eggs
and stash them in my closet
for a backup air supply.

I wish you had smiled
when I said I cried the first time
I smelled the yolk-matted down of a just-hatched
robin and nestled my nose into the gritty
paws of my first puppy.

I wish you had thought
it was nice that I picked the pus-
eyed pup of the litter and kissed Andy Taylor
in my sister's Duran Duran poster
when she called him ugly.

I wish you had asked
to see the crescent moon scar
from the glass that gouged a chunk of my toe
while I was dancing to "Rio"
in my rubbly driveway.

I wish you had said
I must have been beautiful
with my lanky limbs swinging, and my rope
of hair lashing the air and brushing
my ballerina back.

I wish you had told me
you wished you had known me then.

 

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