Wednesday, November 11, 2009

September by Chella Courington

1
Fog on the horizon
hides hard island edges.
Close to the patio
sprinklers swish: streams rise
in sun before falling in the garden.
Six plastic-pink flamingoes
parade by the sago palm.
A pair of dolphins, together
still after twenty years, watch
from the granite fountain.

2
Stripping an apple, peel swinging
in air, I think of Mother
who sliced what grew around her.
From wood the size of playing cards
she whittled small animals:
our cat on haunches, neck turned.
She carved a woman
on her knees, mostly stomach,
hands buried her bowed face.

3
Santa Ana winds blow dry
and scatter dust in their wake.
Hummingbirds circle coral bells.
Their wings, shadow puppets
on stucco. Heavy with petals,
dahlias bend to rocky dirt.
Once I caught a Regal Moth—
panes of ruby and jade.
For three days, she flew.

4
Tonight my namesake calls
like Linda Blair from The Exorcist:
voice gravelly, emerging
from Minnesota. At 19 Satan
and God crowded her head.
No alcohol, no meds, no doctor
could wash them out.
At 30 she screams
God will kill you for leaving me.
I squeeze the receiver
not forgetting her butterfly nightshirt—
wings pressed against me.

First Published: Touchstone (2007-2008), Ed. David Murphy.