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Christine Penney

Hope Walks on Thin Ice

I pick a dandelion

its yellow life gone.

Scrunch up my eyes

take a deep breath, blow

wisps of hope into the air.

I fear cracks on lakes

broken vows and my father.


a steeple of fingers rests

on my grandmother Ruby’s

quilt of violets and lily

of the valley.

The ice calls me or is it

my father?

I hug a tree, my cheek

against rough bark, ridges

like tiny rivers of hope.


the ice calls.


Let Me Go but Hold Me

French corsets

pink ribbons tied

in sailor knots

gather up my pieces

break and mark

me yours.

I am a map

of blue veins you follow

to my salt and honey

sticks sweet to your fingers

your hazel eyes in mine

deeper as wave after wave

lifts me, throws me down

crushing my body on stones

as the undertow rips me away.

“You are mine”

his muffled last words.

I catch a fish

between my teeth

its tail thrashing.


On High

He would have savored

the rinsing of his insides

with wine and spices,

meeting death

a bit tipsy.

I saw him wrapped

in linen sheets lying

in a sarcophagus

like an Egyptian king.