Oct/Nov 2001 Poetry

Three Poems

by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Art by Bob Dornborg


Ghost Jealous

My fingernails click nervously
the room where she
showered and bled and
put on her wine lipstick and
arranged her cherry curls
just so.
I tiptoe
the checkered indigo/grey
floor that breathlessly caught
her peach kimono,
lacey bras, silk gowns
she left here
to haunt me.
The neighbor's cat
knows I don't belong.
Everything on the bed
is new, the ostrich feather
quilt, egyptian cotton sheets
in gold, green eyelet pillows.
A kiss opens me
Under the old bed,
a jar of dragonflies
twitching in ether,
paralyzed into art.
Never take a lover
until you find delicious
the taste of your own
blood in a kiss.


The Place Where Forgotten Things Go

We meet at the foot of Lighthouse Bridge
in day lilies, lemon-chrome leaves
ascending, splitting, recurving.
We take marigold soup at the beach bistro,
cakebread wine and ostrich fettuccini,
cappuccino cake with tart raspberries.
Black clouds streak a flickering cobalt
sky, barefoot in the sugary sand,
we tempt the emerald neon waves.
A curse it is, knowing how things end.
We meet like this again, a bouquet
of red valerian, shallow toothed leaves
in pink bakery paper, I am the ghost
on your back, you are the tentative lover,
someone new to open with a kiss.
Excuse me for this caution.
Forgive me if I know
the place where forgotten things go.


Damage Control

A copper lamp blinks from the paint chipped gazebo.
Pre-hurricane night air bows the cobalt willows.
Now I see my choices are black lacey nightgowns
in a fortune cookie.
As a child I fell in love with an ancient
doctor's doll, a pleasant jade woman nude
on a bed or a coffin, never knowing she revealed
the ailments of a thousand women, killed by modesty.
I waited for her to rise, lips swollen for her lover.
Our lives run parallel,
You, a tourist on this sugar beach,
Me, a damage assessor
Slicing the shells of petrified turtles,
Nursing the slick formaldehyde skins of frogs.


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