you reach for crystal dish hidden on top bookshelf hold it in your palm push the cat away, stir your finger in a pile of smooth shark’s teeth, polished storm-deep with your finger you sweep spirals through them pick up a tooth press it on your tongue, listen to a sharp new language sweeping the spiral of your shell ears you learn to speak new words tongue of flame licking around the edges of sound your words are brands searing permanence into flesh eloquent as the movement of cats fluid as swimming sharks
quads hard as regrets warm circles melting into oval hollows where limb, abdomen meet hands trace elliptical shapes my cool fingers a noteless staff, bass clef the base of your back I listen for heartbeats avoid your quarter-note kisses keep myself within contact of skin skin, curve, hollow play with frayed edges of desire our breath ascends as sheets and things fall
bracelets belonging to a child
-Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, ROM among alabaster carving of pharoah and wife feldspar and turquoise jewels amulets of tiny birds and beetles artifacts golden lie three imperfect circles ivory bracelets belonging to a third dynasty child whose funeral adornment, slices of hollow moon lie beneath glass one leaning on another, a third resting alone. thousands of years these three: her thin bones threaded through them I hear my daughter’s silver hoops on butterscotch wrist: wind chimes clinking delicate melody
point of impact
I shiver, pull my sweater over a purple-red scar on my arm, reminder of the accident that happened when I drove to the point of impact, the point of rolling and flipping and splintering I shiver with late august leaves: yellow coins on the deck, thrown wishes for another summer, another pair of seasons marching together I shiver but the wind continues. Grass half green, half yellow. Evaporating fertilizer stains clay flowerpots half-full of aged blooms which I forget to trim In flowerbeds tall spikes of late blooming gladiola push lines of sunrises out of vertical horizons. Local gardeners sell colourful bunches to people who haven’t forgotten the dead I shiver near my white lattice fence, touch fenceposts that twist in soft seasonal movements of wood, living wood, cracking, shifting, seeking resurrection. In back of my lot, ten black walnut trees carelessly bomb the lawn with apple-green nuts: benevolent patrons dropping salvation at the feet of stubborn believers and other sinners I shiver in cool August air, summer at the point of impact with autumn, and in all my flowerbeds crisp-edged leaves of ivy, hosta blooms are wilting flags, dried up Maltese crosses and white hydrangeas with pink-stained petals, and other dried white flowers I cannot name Even the weeds have died early
"whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast" Matthew 26:48 widow I am, but wife will not die. I find you, guided by rumours spilling from every mouth my dull knife saws slowly at snake-thick rope around your neck your body a heavy fruit, over-ripe falls and slumps upon my makeshift stretcher, sheet across two poles strength it takes to drag you surprises me, the poles scratch a path marking a wide way to your tree that others may follow, trade love for adoration, for blood and sorrow talk of life everlasting tempted you so easily away from me, as pieces of silver tempted you away from him now to hell I anoint you: clean your corpse with clear water perfume and oil, send you off to the dogs, with a dog’s blessing and you will lie in the field your silver bought for potters. I was the first you loved. you betrayed him, earned your pay but you betrayed me first.
:: bio ::
Karen Horeth is a writer and secondary school English teacher. She resides in Tillsonburg, Ontario with her husband and two children. She also runs marathons and participates in creative writing workshops whenever possible. Her work has appeared in several publications, such as Room of One's Own, FreeFall, the Harpweaver, and Writual. Currently she is editing a collection of her poetry.
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