The Natural Complexities of Womanhood
Made it Just Fine
The patio door is unlocked deep in the suburbs and my night door stays locked for a rare, shameful time. I drop myself
into a bucket full of lists written unlike mine. Half of them are already scratched out
and enough to where I cannot reread their successes.
The boys I’ve been texting too much pick me up in a green beater truck that was passed from father to absent father to one of the boys who read Pygmalion to learn his way around love. Yes, Galatia radiates against the stars; she reaches from the impossible
until they fall into the ash tray rattling across the dashboard. Is there
a Jesus bobblehead at least somewhere to be found? No, the moon burns
through the bedroom lights after two hours of hoping he will finish soon. I step on unzipped bookbags, roaches and cockroaches, styrofoam cups brimmed with warm coke
and there’s no savior nailing my foot or palm to redeem me.
Feminine skin shines silky when she basks under the moonlight. Feminine skin rolls
like new foam on a beach casted with bunches of dead trees.
Her skin, conceding to nature, lights the lantern that still navigates the bogs
swaddling us well past birth. Galatia is sculpted in the ivory poachers would give
their lives for. I suppose it is romantic to challenge death for the things we love
if we are content calling everything a thing. If I am like
an imaginary character made alive
only through her participation in a collection where gods have sequels after sequels
of their crimes, then
I can deduce the exact shade of ivory she cannot unclothe. I take the moon’s reflection on me; a flashlight explores the emptying sky. I blind the eyes of those already told not to
look my way, but I am eventually invisible to the darkness lying not far ahead.
The boys cannot see me; they are staring into a blank screen having thunked
of all the ways
they were going to cross me
off the list with no scratch jutting pass the center of the page;
feminine skin under the moon takes in black ink all too well.
Keep This Love Song Hidden in the Drawer (Sincerely, You)
If the words I cannot say overpaint
the walls in the room,
the house will all fall
I write in a private journal
and tell you an idea I’ve had
I’ve thought on a drive with
all the right songs I play
It’s all a cliche
Morrissey might say
or the curbing of a heart
pumped to its fill
Let me blow all the words I can utter
into a creaking balloon and sing
A bit of the lyrics
I wrote on a park bench
melodramatic high and
winded in front of a coffee shop
Where I’m drinking the sweet taste
in the chamomile tea
(oh so tragic)
I’m writing a boring love song
on a bike ride to paradise
I’m too tired
and it’s closer
to wallow my way home
Let’s have a talk
Pretend our woes are interesting
listening to the everythings
stasis in the atmosphere
The ride home is near
The green fixes itself into the words
blurring past me
They collect bashfully in the trees
I think of plenty of things to think and
I now mastered my pace
so let me mull over these memories
the way I have begun to memorize
the raises on your brazen shoulders
under the cold basement window
If you can find me a place
there light always shines
in infinite downpour,
The creek overflows
into only saltwater,
The trees are skyscrapers high
the branches never spread low,
A meadow clusters purple and
the poison in the larkspur dribbles, then
I will be familiar.
If you can find me a place where
the turkeys are plump all season but
they like the taste of flower petals,
The exterior is all brick and
half of the house long fell,
no planes fly over
no one knows I am here
The soil is velvet fertile though
I never learned to garden,
we can finally call it home.
and you’ll speak of unfinished poems. Inhale
the whiffs of afternoon boiling a river,
colder against the air enough
to splash your face.
Your eyes in the water everchange
following the trout until they disappear under the shoal.
You’ll wonder if the next to float by are the same
You can only tell
they look the same.
Exhale the smoke of a freight train
swinging forebodingly on a viaduct.
That’s the load you've carried on your feeble back
over ranges not high enough
back to the coast.
Family and neighbors
they sometimes pick up a book of yours
from the cargo
only to return it with one or more items.
No matter if it is a gift
or a sign of aversion,
it weighs your back at least an ounce more.
a merciful cry for the god around you
and may their swiftness be of mountain rapids
when it’s time to break open
Charlie Ross is a current graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts.