Sept/Oct 1999 Poetry

Two Poems

by Christy Franke


Oven Doors

With mitted hands,
I see Annie lifting apple pies,
and shutting the door on an Indian summer

A gesture of yours comes through my fingers
surprising me.
You forgot it that day,
when you came for your records and clothes.

I remember when we moved here.

We peeled years of paper from the walls
like a family album;
pink with roses for nameless girls,
yellow for a nursery,
stripes for a bedridden grandpa who died in his sleep
just five feet away.
And "Annie, October 9, 1912" carved in the plaster.

Summer oozed through windows.

We brushed the walls with white
and watched TV
holding hands
in a room without furniture,
smelling of paint and lilacs.

Trees drip butterscotch.

The sidewalk crunches under feet.

When they cut me down they'll find a ring of you
around some layer of my heart,
walled under the memories
of a dozen concentric seasons.



I wander out at night and find myself between two streetlights
fighting for my shadow.
It hesitates midway,
and turns back toward the one left behind.

Between two Aprils
the story of you and me curled back on itself,
and pinched off to the solace of our separate minds.

Headlights curdle through the fog,
in some ways I envy that sort of certainty.
My mind wades through the sour milk of memory.

A hobbling woman canes her way through an insubstantial darkness.
A man in spandex walks a dog, a smelly excuse
to loiter before fire hydrants and dream of a woman a thousand miles away.
we all turned up on the same street,
trying to graph the whims of our restlessness
into maps of fate;
or destiny;
or anything with some sense to it.

I think of you 3-dimensionally for the first time,
so much more than I could ever know.
I imagine 5 billion heads bobbing
in an electromagnetic sludge;
And I feel the desire for some subterranean
rhizomal link, some
collective unconscious
coming of age.

And I miss you.


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