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.
I have never slaughtered a pig.
My hands, though slathered with a sheen
Of melted flesh, are swiftly cleaned
With a simple paper towel.
The cottonwood trees watch. Whisper. A
lyrical business, theirs. Bored by the Wind
River, they turn toward the termite-nibbled
The Pacific begs me to swim away, anything
to keep us from strangling each other
on the boardwalk. The Freakshow
is where our love belongs, a two-headed
oddity feasting on dust and bone
This is how pleasure goes marauding
thinking twenty was happy
thinking faces you won’t believe
wrapped in a smell of hand
When she reeked of distraction, a dozen fools
set out to decant her childhood.
You work with doll pieces and cigar
boxes. Mirrors reflect limbs
suspended on toothpicks.
It’s easy to forget how weird Elvis was, sitting in the Atlanta airport on a Sunday morning, Viva
Las Vegas on every screen,
lined up at the bar with fellow travelers recently notified that alcohol is not for sale until 12:30 this afternoon.
Come chill with me and watch a show
Tonight, whenever, I don't know;
We'll listen to the new J. Cole,
And I will judge your nipple mole
look back, look back
you will be Rorschach
a print of a man
She’s not my aunt by blood,
so I’ve a chance to taste her.