Friday Dec 15

GrahamLea Lea Graham's first book, Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You is forthcoming August 2011 from No Tell Books. She is also the author of the chapbook Calendar Girls (above ground press, 2006). Her poems, collaborations, reviews and articles have been published in journals and anthologies such as American Letters & Commentary, The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor, Notre Dame Review and The Capilano Review. Her translations are forthcoming in The Alteration of Silence: Recent Chilean Poetry through the University of New Orleans Press. She is Assistant Professor of English at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and a native of Northwest Arkansas.

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A Crush before the Sexual Revolution

 

Now that I'm old this cold freezes the quarter notes of my thought.
Memory's just a jacklight of once. I used to hide wings & eggs,
damaged things, in a crawl space beneath the house. Colors lived in my eyes

as rejection. I stowed a pocket watch & buckeyes beneath
a sycamore, the clouds of Worcester. My favorite word:
mercurial. I've been summoned through Pig Alley, scanned lavender

fields on the Isle of Wight. I spied a neighbor girl peeing
a ditch when I was ten. Her skirt's hitch & crooked mouth survive.
It's like a hummingbird's quicksilver jab to a red vest.

These are bones in my soup, nevertheless. My father danced
a gimpy box step. My mother stole apples from Kunitz's
tree. One May, I photographed Priscilla in gingham & pearls.

She sang "sugar, cause sugar never was so sweet." At the edge
of Bell Pond. At the edge of Bell Pond. Later that summer she
beaded her thighs with my initials. She carved them there.

 

 

Winter's Crush


Before us this fabled moon sprouting
kale. The seet & caw notch at window, flare
yard's cherry, pear. We wait. In your childhood

language it is the same word as hope.
We sleep in swells & testas' burst, lengthen
downward before bed's tug & world. The dog star,

trips across sky
& a vinyl
seat where I wait for you to cleave, pull me in-
to—