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.
Imagine planting a garden. Imagine planting a garden of only yellow tulips. You love yellow tulips, the dusky smiles, stems’ green neutrality. Yellow tulips are your favorite. So mild.
His head was an apple
chest proud, deadman's float
while rows of parents looked on
with drowsy interest
His ghost was with me that morning
Wandering round my room
While I tried to write,
Lifting the corners of my laundry,
Making the dust dance in the light.
They do so quicken
to warn don’t they?
‘specially those that
have never dared or
worse, but sadly, onced.
Here I am wearing June on my fingers,
earrings on my ankles, skinny dipping
in a public pool regardless of awe-struck
children, writing a note between gillyflowers,
slurping breakfast on the ice veranda, braiding
lavender though it’s long been brown.
You are in a new house. It is your fifth birthday.
The Charles River shushes your tantrums,
infrequent as they have become. The moon moth
is an introvert. Her wings light up the night like limes
but she prefers her Sycamore hollow.
Lay your head down to sleep with word for word transcripts of murder trials still ringing in your ears. One thousand stories from neighbors of lawless men. Their mouths open like baby blackbirds spewing out ink, instead of tiny songs, a river into the corridors of the dead.
1. For instance, forsythia catch April on fire and this is when babies learn the color yellow and adolescent girls carry their new chests like medals, momentarily. By May, the fuss has diffused and branches shiver without flower while dumb daffodils gab and lilacs diva the garden.
Rainbows in a puddle reflect the triangle over Kenmore.
I took a shower with a boy, we poured
parabens through our threads. In some places
the tap water catches.
He’s the most amazing &
already they take him, fate
beautys up the mirror, wonders
how ever one gets used to tighter.