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spacer.gif   Kathleen Kirk
Posted by : cj on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 03:30 PM
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Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name
Strange & Wonderful


I am four or five years old, wearing a red coat. The sky is gray and woolen. A man I do not know lifts me over a black slatted fence in the snow. He seems to be my teenage aunt's first real boyfriend, the one who committed suicide, but I can know nothing of that except what I've overheard. Finally, his body spurts from me, tearing me open. My hot blood seeps onto a white table. I touch the impossible satin of his purplish blue cheek and see into the unseeing blue-black buttons of his eyes. I will speak for him since he cannot speak for himself. I will tell her how much he loved her before he died. I will tell them all how much they are loved. His mouth closes over my nipple, latching on.

(Previously published in Another Chicago Magazine #36)



My Husband the Electrician

does not replace the ring
of fluorescent light
flickering to death in the faded
kitchen, nor the seven flame
shaped bulbs that have gone out
one by one in the past
two months in our dining room

chandelier

until I tell him I want
to do it in the light
on one of the hot-pink
cushioned chairs that match
our Formica table
and once more against the wall
beside the dimmer switch.



diagnosis

my first husband comes back one night, he isn't dead, just pushed way to the back of a Victorian wardrobe, where he has waited, maliciously silent, for all these years. learn to live your life symbolically says the woman who can diagnose your illness from just your name and age: Kathleen, 44. my daughter lies on the floor beside me, chastened. my second husband doesn't want her in the bed anymore. in the middle of the night she turns into an old hag, reaches up and tries to pull me down into my grave, her nails sharp as the cat's claws, but when i open my eyes my first husband has waited to emerge until two cats are fighting on the other side of the sliding glass door, ours and the black and white one who attacked a baby rabbit last week, so the screeching will obscure my whispered request. i wake my second husband, make him rescue me, not that he does anything but wake, but that is heroic enough. he is very Buddhist, very Cuban, he lives in the moment, or just a moment behind the moment, but he is awake. he doesn't understand why i am afraid, and i cannot explain how or why my life has gone so horribly astray. my first husband hides in the wardrobe again, holding his giant penis. i try to live my life symbolically, but it makes me laugh. my daughter is between us in the bed. the cat sashays over to the master bath. chronic lower back pain, sciatica.


 
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