Jan/Feb 2011 Poetry

flash cards

by Ken Taylor

flash cards

kate has a test tomorrow,
hands me her stack of words.

ambiance i say and flip to mood,
feeling, general atmosphere.

she knows this one. i say it's french.
she shoots me a middle school look.

askew. she answers crooked.
yes, to one side, crooked, awry i say.

she asks how long her mother
and i were married. i can't recall.

twelve years? thirteen? she smiles,
but is disappointed. cranny i say.

a small opening in a rock face she replies.
girth. the distance around something.

but how long were you in love? she asks.
i don't answer. were we ever? i think.

eight years? she asks. she was five
when we split and remembers

or did the math that works for her.
yes. eight years i say. she nods.

lassitude. she doesn't know that one.
listlessness, torpor, weariness.

put that in another pile she says.
ballistics. it's something about bullets.

the study of projectiles i say.
the other pile she says.


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