Monday May 27

Pike Poetry Brianna Pike is an Associate Professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College. She received her MA from the University of North Texas and her MFA from Murray State University. Her poems have appeared in Bread & Beauty, Glassworks, Gravel, Heron Tree, and Mojave River Review among others. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, son, dog & two zebra finches. She blogs here.


On the Occasion of Your Marriage
            ~For Nancy

Your letter arrived last winter, crisp and cold at the edge, the weight
of your message swelling the envelope.

Your fiancé wakes most nights screaming; the pain pulling
his body away from you in the dark.

It is his torment, chronic and bright, that rushes your hand across
the blank page, smooth script sprawling

as you write of a quick ceremony, on your lunch break, so he will be yours
to care for. You know loneliness; an only child staring

down a mother’s broken mind and a father’s broken back, but I see
you in the courthouse, your hands clasp his promise: I will stay with you.


When we were children we ran, hand in hand, across my grandfather’s
pasture clutching Indian Paintbrushes and searching out arrowheads.

Blue eyes and quiet smiles for the boys: the neighbor kicking
a soccer ball around your tan ankles and later the grocer’s son leading

you out to the risers behind the baseball fields. Later on, lying in the tall grass,
you made me guess exactly where his hands traveled.

At twenty, you met a man and made a blue-eyed girl of your own.
He moved you to a small house, far away from town, and while she slept,

young mutt curled in the crook of her knees, he threw you against
the wall, cracking the pine paneling. He left, and you moved on

to a trailer in town, a small brook in the back where your daughter
learned to swim, catch frogs, hunt her own artifacts.

You enroll her in dance classes, drama camp, and offer up weekend
trips to Storyland, where princesses live in castles, tea cups

spin and flowers sing. Where you, two girls, still hold
hands, feeding wild swans at the edge of the moat.