Oct/Nov 2010 Poetry

Two Poems

by Michaela Gabriel

113. ununtrium (uut)

alice gets lost on her way to wonderland

somewhere between the surface of her looking glass
and a dark gutter masquerading as a rabbit hole
magic comes undone. she steps outside her dream,
considers a signpost to dubna, another to 2003.

if all the maple trees whisper incessantly but you
don't speak foliage, can you trust leafy vowels?
if you dig plants up by their latin roots, will you
develop radical ideas and carve out your own road?

theoretical calculations! bawls alice, her voice a
bubble wrap staccato, exclamation mark crisp as
celery. echoes fail her. she feels like a widow, suddenly
shrouded in silence, her name a mantra in her head.

instead of a dubious future, she delves into a certain
past: a sister, a kitten, a house that doesn't shrink.
she will not subscribe to madness. mother promised
nothing bad can happen to a girl with a goldfish mouth.


024. Chromium (Cr)

The morning she decides to wash the red sheets she jams her finger in the washing machine. She remembers the day she cut her thumb on an accidental blade and watched her blood drip dull patterns onto a white dinner plate. She read a future into them: More of the same. Endless matryoshka dolls of days. There was no sense of freedom when the plate shattered on the wall. All the broken pieces accused her of messing with the gods. She couldn't stand their reproachful stare. Caved in. Glued them together. Hung the misshapen disc on the kitchen wall. The vinegar taste of failure caught her on the run. It lingered, just out of reach. Like the hallucinations that still come and go after baths and daytime naps. Dreams that flit across the night like a private aurora borealis. Sometimes she walks in circles for hours. Rips little hairs out by their stubborn roots. It distracts her. From fear. From the requiem playing in her head, non-stop. From the memory of colours: ruby, emerald, alexandrite. A blaze of sodium chromate, so bright it makes you dizzy. Like laundry spinning. The washing machine trembles underneath her palms. The pounding of a rhythmic drum, the whispering voices of water taunt her: Not even this to hold on to. Not. Even. This.


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