Table of Contents - Vol. VIII, No. 3
All you need to do is stuff
a former person—an ascended ghost—
into the Maytag and select Delicate Cycle,
add All and softener that claims to smell like rain.
Twenty-three minutes later pull her limp
and sterile from final spin and fluff
her in the dryer’s drum, accessorize
with halo, harp, wings and truth.
Fly her like a kite above your bed,
watch her corners cover yours.
Yonder she waits with quilt and pillow
for night. Even then she pales
as if to welcome you between flat arms.
Or roll you coldly in a shroud.
She goes before us, billowing cotton
and processing the bread of heaven
into a weighty message.
And so we choose her in excess
from fear of loneliness and hunger.
One day too soon we look down
and see that overnight by the light
of florescent halo she welded herself
to us. We are childless, we have
carnal appetite stuck below our ribs.
Small comfort swelling,
but only Mary thickened with salvation.
What good are words or fat cells,
the male melon or womanly fold
we grip searching for love anywhere,
even in emptiness, even excess.
She no longer flies: she floats
in advance, and in her name
we open our mouths to feed her.
The winged gal called to protect you slides
from your shoulder into your left eye
where she shadows the retina
with a transparent worm
interrupting vision, skidding through
vitreous, bounding back up on every blink
like a waterbug zigzagging across blue sky,
gel inside gel, her clarity interrupting
the view, lazy dance of nothingness
moving when you do. And the Lord said
Let there be a clump of cells forevermore
skating through your soul, a reminder
that you are neither perfect nor alone.
Selfish girl, she does not reflect rainbows
like the barbs of blue and green birds
who fan their tails in earthly bliss.
Assuming a male display, she absorbs
all color as her own, preens raiment
of white on white, fan of light,
or else drags a bridal train
with head held high, heart blind
to all the colors she cannot show.
And so she imitates creation’s essential
element, passing among us
with grace as evening comes,
a ghost outshining the moon
nested in pitch-black heaven.
© Joanne Lowery