Shanna Compton' s books include Brink (Bloof, 2013), For Girls & Others (Bloof, 2008), Down Spooky (Winnow, 2005), Gamers (Soft Skull, 2004), and several chapbooks. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, Court Green, the Awl, PoemFlow/Poets.org, and elsewhere. Her website can be found here.
True Story Sonnet (1)
Back when my pawpaw was the pastor
the joint was named Stampede Baptist Church
in a little town called Moody, a name that fit.
Then he fell in love with another woman and left
to get a divorce. The citizens of Moody
dropped their jaws and plenty of opinion
fell out. He never quit loving firecrackers,
the kind we blew up on the 4th of July. Maybe
the other kind too. They stayed together until
he died, a failure of his heart, and we kept visiting her
until she died too, a decade later, still wearing his ring.
Mamaw never spoke of her that I recall. Run
over there now, he’d say, laughing and lighting the fuses
on a bunch at once. This one’s gonna really wow you.
True Story Sonnet (2)
He had given me a necklace I think.
I held it fast-tight through a lull
in the ozone. Later, night came on
like the end of a film, not at all what we
expected, black-rimmed and absent
like holidays feel unreal because
they’re so different from the best days,
and all the people are different people,
in different clothes.We even use
different plates, supposedly better ones.
What’s the point of that? When I was a kid,
the lady next door used to unpack her daisy-
pattern wedding china and serve a meal on it
before pretending to kill herself again.
Glyphs & Special Characters
I celebrate the tanginess of your gruntly curves,
amorphous, as sweetly mispronounced
as the hush of pampas. I enthuse about you.
Watch me rotate it with this toggle made
of syllables. I want to be accommodating,
concise as water. When you don your armor,
shiny as a Corvette, I ping all over the place;
I chew faster and with a bawdy smack.
The days you’re gone waver like goldenrod savannahs
replete with polecats instead of the big tawny ones.
Am I imposing again, repositing the denim fantasy,
the one we’ve mocked of all its flavor?
Wring it again. The optics are still pristine,
the audio sharp as architecture.