h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s

 

 

..........
NANCY BOTKIN


..............................

THROUGH AN AVOCADO MASQUE, HARDENING


Dear ancient architects of penance,

Tonight’s episode requires patience.
‘Tis the season.
Brittle stalks lean into each other;
a strong wind starts them flapping—

(There’s a shape, a texture.)

The market is ripe for cartographers.
There are topographies we must endure.
You already know this.

The needle-like pain is infinitely interesting.

 

 




...........

THE MULTITUDES


Come into the light we say
when we want to get a better look.

That way it will become clear.

A birthday cake purposely tossed
into the snow
makes a clear statement

as do the red high heels and those plastic tiaras
that invite make believe. But, really,
who doesn’t want to be someone else?

My mother dragging on cigarettes for thirty-four years.

You read the entire history of being
on a dead grey face.

Everything in moderation.

The sun is disinterested. The whole
stupid planet could disappear.

Hello! we say when we’re in the presence of the obvious.

Over there, the multitudes, the specks
of dust we’d like to separate ourselves from.

Cut crystal takes its turn with light.
It’s how we postpone sweeping up the ashes.

 

 




...........

WE CAN'T TAKE OUR EYES OFF THEM
  

The thing about Indiana
              
is there can be
no sunshine for two
               weeks straight.
But every morning
               the coffee shop signs
have been flipped:
               Yes, We’re Open.
The eighteen wheelers
               throw up
misty sludge, and you have
               a choice:
the day is soft
               and grey or this
is going to be
               a long drive.
I watched my mother
               dip her comb
into a glass of beer
               for shine
before rolling her
               hair in curlers
with cat whiskers.
               Twenty years later
she said, It must be
               something in the air
we breathe, upon
               learning of a fellow
cancer victim.
               The sign on the church
marquee: Get Rich
               By Counting Your
Blessings. It’s a lot
               to absorb. Let’s
not ignore spring
               when rivers
loosen their tongues.
               That’s when we
fall to our knees. A crowd
               gathers around
the performers on Bourbon Street.
               Like stars, they
hold themselves still. 
               The miracle
is not blinking.  Later,
               by the pool, I thought
to myself
              don’t move
until the shade
              touches your toe.  I admit
I wobbled
              as the courtyard
divided itself
              into dark and light.

 


 

 

 

BIO: Parts That Were Once Whole, Nancy’s full-length collection of poems, was published by Mayapple Press in 2007.  She has two chapbooks, In Waves (March Street Press) and Bent Elbow and Distance (Finishing Line Press).  Her poems have appeared in Poetry East, Salamander, The Chariton Review, Cimarron Review, The Laurel Review, Eclipse, and many other journals. She teaches at IU South Bend.







 

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