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. Sit down for cups of black tea without milk or sugar cubes, and someone might spill their guts. Reveal the location of the grand- children, now living by the dark harbors of Florida, avoiding Cubans, sharing Christmas dinners, no mention of court cases, criminal charges, black and white mug shots like school photos, a new one every year. Someone’s niece will tell you the entire truth if you gift her with black diamonds, panther skin rugs, a chapter in your book. She’s poised and reinvented, gathering canned food for mothers and wives who fled the crime scene with all their possessions, carried like wounded children, on their tired backs.
Although she received her MFA in Creative Writing more than 25 years ago, Beth Gordon can best be described as an emerging writer. She is the proud mother of three creative human beings, Matt, Alex and Elise, who fill her world with art and music. Beth resides in St. Louis, Missouri and spends most weekends in the company of fellow writers, musicians, wine drinkers, and two dogs named Izzie and Max.
When he had finished writing, and crossing out
and standing and rewriting, and looking
out his window, and feeling the sun
I stood and watched you sleeping, had
stood there watching for nearly five minutes in
the shadow of the
hallway for nearly five minutes of circus
time before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
If I could, I’d use
my recently purchased cell phone
to call the pay phone outside
the community swimming pool
in Fairview Park, Normal, Illinois,
that summer when I was eleven,
and the country 200.
It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.”
And you cried.
I dream of her,
childish and illogical,
straight hair and tiger-eyes.
My punk-rock gothic-pixie little sister fourteen fresh faced
We listened to The Cure during art class Made bongs and pipes
out of ceramic You taught me how to kiss people who could
never love me
Supermassive Black Hole swallowed your cackle-low
Cosmos whisper pretty Come here darling and you come
I hope I never forget that pack of middle-schoolers
at the playground near my house, how they acted
like middle-schoolers, shouting their conversations
across the neighborhood as if showing off new sneakers,
the boys doing mean things to the girls,
the girls saying mean things about each other.
head, right arm
behind the back, fingers
curled around the left arm’s inner
We all live on the Hudson, America’s only true river. It’s
a driveway, a landing strip, and a dead end. The Hudson is not the only river
to become a school, but it is the only one once beheld by the likes of George
Washington, Melville, and Sir Winston Churchill.