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Summer 2007 [Issue No. 12]

POETRY


 

Palms

Kati Stevens

 

 

I’m not ready for the palm trees with their sometimes coconuts and their sometimes exhibitionist complexes, flinging off husks like starched collars that itch with the weight of decency  – 

or seven kinds of vases with seven kinds of factory-fresh flora, tall metal branches creeping out like the silver fingers of the recently deceased who won’t accept their fates or the cold sod shifting grimy clouds of earth over their hollowed  heads;

I’m hungry for real flowers, the kind that can wilt or be dried between random pages of Moby Dick, so when I finally reach the dark pages, there will be something to soften the blow of all that seafaring rage –

or white sheets with panic buttons racing down the pillow seams and sticking out like broken springs from the calderas where an elbow sank or a knee jabbed.

I could get myself into a state, a commonwealth, maybe, and develop allergies to all the things I should have left alone in the first place: Chinese takeout, mother’s milk, the quiet, bodies rappelling –

the pressure gets to him as we ascend home too quickly; to me horizontally as I walk across the Intracoastal Waterway and the start of the sea slaps the land back petulantly, will deck me too if I get close enough and it smells the stench of time on me, like a bacterial infection –

I don’t like to act, to pretend to make love, because he tastes like he used to be a running mate and an alcoholic and the winner of Greco-Roman statuettes, and we have only forty seconds to make love resemble hours or years, intimate knowledge of skin and pores and what goes where and what will sound the alarms;

my corpse-white legs still look like they’d have spread further apart on a bed with lived-in blankets, the prop rose petals swept away, a row of pines outside without the money or inclination to strip for my viewing pleasure –

 

they keep their Christmases close and their summers closer, and wish to be left alone, like me, far from the surface touch.   

 

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