My gaze clung to phantoms:
the mother and son whose worn boots
and thin hats could not hide
the numb mask typical of cemetery patrons
in mid-January. A chipped stone
below winter’s blanket stared back at them,
hardly the father, husband, and fallen soldier
they remembered. His boy waved
hello, unaware of a mom’s watering eyes
as she twisted a ring on her finger.
Her child started working
on three slushy mounds, hurrying
them into a snowman no taller than he,
its shoulders sinking much like
the mother’s, leaning left as it offered
a half-hug to unfeeling granite,
stick arms scuffing rock ––
the sound shook me, urged birds
from the surrounding trees,
eavesdropping made easy when grief
is so blinding. I saw mom and boy share
a shiver of dead words with air.
Breezes guided the sagging body of ice
closer to a grave marker premature in its placing.
I imagine the frozen figure, tilted, collapsing,
might resemble the ground’s tenant
on the battlefield, far from home
when he passed; I imagine that the drips of frost,
melting into rivers across a sergeant’s title,
might mirror those tears shed in the name
of national sacrifice: I imagine
his ghost might love this companion.
Dani Dymond is a twenty-three-year-old college student majoring in English/Creative Writing and minoring in sleep deprivation. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Young Ravens Literary Review and Outrageous Fortune, online publications like BuckOff Magazine and The Bitchin’ Kitsch, and several university magazines. She is a feminist, vegetarian, activist, and obsessive dog mom. While she wishes poets were paid in licorice and Netflix subscriptions, her goal to finish an MFA at CSULB and someday teach writing at the college level while publishing her own work will wonderfully suffice.
Maybe it was just the light,
cracked somewhere, leaked out,
lucky—I thought you shifted away
in voice, my mouth to hear,
Be honest now—
just for a minute; I cried.
I had him locked out—
a perfectly good wish.
Privately, for over a year now you drove off and left me.
The place cooled down beaming and bright—
put my name on a silencer (it’s not the end of the world).
Only a true spell
of fittingly glamorous phenomena
repaired sunstruck imagination—
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.
The things I never said, I said them like a man.
Like a man I insist I never said those things.
And afterwards I will assert I never said the second thing,
layer on layer of vow, disavowal. And what I believe,
you shall believe; there is only one thought and it is me.
My smell wipes across the thought of him. Crying in a pin stripe business suit. There was an accident. Perfect bodies lose perfection like melting ice. Crowns of thorns are passed out, metal trinkets to place in private. Kiss the blood rolling down.
I keep having this dream where
the white man isn’t angry
the black man entered
the white house.
There is a cabin by the bouldered beaches
of Northern California,
where the pines practically toe the foam.
This is where he’ll go, and off will come
his tailored suits,
his lacquered shoes,
his streak of blood-red tie.