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.
Oracular the filtered light of oak
through her peignoir She comes to me as though
her spell was never broken I’m still twenty
I can smell those pungent oranges in the sun
I narrate to him that last night both partners
thought they’d given everything up for the other.
It was ugly. They didn’t get, they wouldn’t get,
what they’d hoped for. I editorialize
that I think rage is clichéd in marriage
after a decade and a half.
There was a study done
to prove that men and women
have different brains
to prove, I suppose, that
women are from venus
and men are from mars,
that men want to fuck
and women want to marry
or some garbage like that
the drinking glass
across the room
against the wall
I had said
a wrong thing
that what is frozen roars for eternity (and that’s too much for us) while gashes in our wrists will bleed ceaseless, fluttering crimson ribbons.
she hits the keys
with one finger
like she’s jabbing someone
in the shoulder
or chest during
a fight because they
refuse to listen
oh, blundering human,
tread your life’s labyrinth
back to the beginning
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