Two Poems

On the Line

How the magician is like an athlete.  How the athlete is like a writer. How the writer is like a river.  How the river is like a movie.  How the movie is longer than the book.  How the book when hung out to dry can’t remember its own length and begins to cry knowing how its stories will never be dry.

How the poem is like an apricot.  How the apricot is like a truck.  How the truck learns about the long haul and won’t tell anyone else.  How the doorstop is not like anyone else.  How this poem wants to hang itself out to dry, how it wants to say: 

This morning, I went outside to hang myself out to dry only to find the line too heavy, too full for more.  Even two of my grandmother’s tall, grey, unpainted, notched-at-the-top clothes line poles splintering and bending in the sun couldn’t hold it up enough to keep the middle from sagging, from touching the ground.

How touching the ground can be such a comfort.  How this poem wants to be on the line.  How my grandmother took her time hanging out the morning laundry.  How my mother said her mother only sang when she hung out the weekly wash.

How my grandmother said it always rained on Good Friday afternoon and how we didn’t dare speak between 1 and 3.  How the poem keeps trying to find a place on the line, and the line still full.  How you can go to bed early, can dream of the athlete writing this poem.  How it flows down the river listening to your grandmother’s singing.

How she has found a third pole, grey and splintering, as tall as the others to hold up the sagging middle.  She has found space on the line for your poem.  You fall asleep, ready for the long haul, waiting for the sweet apricot of morning.


Reaching Over to Place
A Fibonacci Sequence

Poem gets
Wind traveling south
Along Niagara’s escarpment
Fingering white windmills pirouetting without her

We love the motion of our mother reaching over to place her right arm out across 

House slows
Around me
With today’s spinning
Like my sister’s skirt suddenly
Stops its turning inside me beside me denies me

our chests to hold us as her shiny black two-door 1954 Ford Customline

In begins
To know not to show
Going on to write about my
Deep breath where remembering now how to write before

sedan rounds the corner smoothly sees my sisters and me giggling the touch of her now.

—CX Dillhunt, Madison, WI