I lost two days
to horsetails waving
like furling flags
in the pasture and woke
to a woman, dark
with braids and eyelashes
long as leaves on a fern.
She sat beside me
at her computer, to be
with me as I came to.
I don’t recall her name,
only that she gave me
apple juice with ice chips
and graham crackers
in bite-sized pieces.
The road home buckled
with potholes and my wrists
fell limp in an anesthesia
cloud, my arm bandaged
where a nurse tried
to slip a needle into a vein
pale as a green thread.
Is it Ok? I asked hoping
for the answer I wanted.
No it’s not OK. I did it wrong
and the blood is going
backwards. My boyfriend
carried my black raincoat
and drove me home
and warmed soup and I
for three days, until
I heard the birds again. I
remember buttered sourdough,
silver telephone pole trees
laced together with ribbons
of apple green and the way
chainsaws cried in the distance
making way for newcomers
patrolling like hungry dogs.
My books press their bodies,
one on top of another,
Women Icons of the 20th Century
on the bottom, bearing the weight
of it all. Portraits above.
The Matisse paintings topple out
by themselves, pages which belonged
to my grandmother Lena who kept it
on her yellow crocodile end table
in the den. Part of its spine has split
tattered by curious fingers—
much like me. My mother’s Collected
Works floats on top in its shiny, new
post-mortem purple and royal blue,
as pinkie-width feathers keep slipping
from pillows and the couch. I found
one on the stove, another on the floor
near my bed. It’s like they’re looking
for a better place, out the window,
twisting six floors down, to land
in another universe on a bench, beside
a girl who might believe it’s a sign.
Last Quarter Void of Course Aquarius Moon
Soft-shoeing down Peachtree Street
Between bulldozer dust and the din
Of angry traffic, another wreck
In front of my loft, track marks in circles
On the street, track marks on my arm
From the surgery, tracking violence,
Spa shootings on Piedmont Road,
Racing and road rage on I-20. Angst
Melts on my tongue with fig gelato,
My hand smelling of salmon
And jalapeño since the Velvet Taco
Doesn’t offer forks unless you ask.
Little is provided anywhere unless
You ask. And if you ask, you are
Asking for it, Greedy bitch. I imagine
A marshmallow poker poking through
My heart. For so long I lived like the last
Tree in a ruined forest, like a record
Snapped over the knee, a mouth
Red-lipped and rough in Georgia
Clay, reminding me of its opposite.
As I think of the lights of Calabria
At dusk across the Straight of Messina
From Taormina, like dancers waltzing
On a shiny stage, I come back to
The homeless man laid out in the sun
In front of me here on Peachtree,
On this the first warm day of Spring.
His arms overhead in repose, Buddha
Smile on his lips, his skin rich
As the night. One shoe on, the other
Leg crossed, barefoot and tapping
To a song I will never hear.
King Plow, Atlanta,
the Last Sunday in February
Every leaf is green,
even the northwind switchgrass
on my side of the tracks.
Wheels from a long train,
thirty feet away pound
inside my chest. The train and I
breathe in sync.
The metal rattles,
moving, while I do not shift
in my seat. This week
my friend’s brother
as my father did a decade ago.
And I still want to tell him,
at night here the leaves
sway like people dancing.
Cynthia Good has written six books including Vaccinating Your Child, which won the Georgia Author of the Year award. She has launched two magazines, Atlanta Woman and the nationally distributed PINK magazine for women in business. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Adanna Journal, Awakenings, Book of Matches, Brickplight, Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Cutthroat, Free State Review, Full Bleed, Main Street Rag, Maudlin House Review, Outrider Press, OyeDrum Magazine, The Penmen Review, Pensive Journal, Persimmon Tree, Pier-Glass Poetry, Pink Panther Magazine, Poydras, South Shore Review, The Ravens Perch, Reed Magazine, Tall Grass, Terminus Magazine, They Call Us, and Voices de la Luna and Willows Wept Review among others. A new chapbook from Finishing Line Press will be published next year.