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Christina Pacosz

January 2009

Red Suddenly


Scattering the Ashes
for Ursa and Larry

A black sky battens down
the dark hatch of sea.
La Sirene casts an aquamarine eye
on the refuge of white sugar dune.

It could be the blue Caribbean.
Bounsoua, Haiti. Mouin ke, under siege.*
I scoop a handful
of ash and bone.

Rust stains the palm of my hand.
You scatter what remains
like winter seed. I toss cinders
to the curled lip

of foam and slash
my cheeks with dust.
Unwilling to let go
you draw a line in the sand

beyond the greedy waves. 
A rounded bone.
I think socket, joint, muscle.
What she once was grins

ribbon tongue lolling.
A russet streak
racing the tidal flat
beneath a mute moon.

Ash and grit
pelt the water like rain.
Red suddenly,
a wound.

 

*Good evening.  My heart. Haitian Creole.


May Eve

Golden apple moon setting
over the freeway split
past newly leafed trees.
Just after I think
about a deer stepping out
on the quieter two-lane  she’s here.
I slow down, stop. Eye-to-eye
we gaze at each other.
An older woman, a younger deer.
Suddenly, miraculously    in love.

An ancient ache briefly soothed     no fear                  
but I must break the spell
and sadly click my tongue and teeth.
Even with this betrayal my beloved
is reluctant to leave.
Finally the doe
shies away
and disappears
into the cattails
and scrub willow.


Heartland Mirage

A horse trapped by flame, I eye
rush hour doing 75
hurtling toward the next cloverleaf.
Towers loom.
Heartless Oz for a brief moment
emerging from the haze,
the pall of coal plants and smog
of traffic.  Like a mighty fortress
glinting in the sun
above the wrecked Missouri.

E-mail from South Carolina asks
“Kansas!  What are you doing out there?
Looking for Dorothy?”

The sound suddenly
of a  triple trailer gearing down.
 Dry palmetto clacking a warning.     

Scraps of paper fly up.
Roadside trash
all that remains
after the whirlwind.


Heartland Exile

In the studio apartment
overlooking the interstate
the hibiscus rescued from K-Mart thrives.
Deep green leaves
wide as dessert plates now.    
Taller than either of us
despite its seventy-dollar clay prison
it longs to be a hedge, a tree,
roots roaming far and wide
in volcanic soil.
Ignoring the 24/7 machine gun stutter
of semis gearing down for the
I-29/35 split  
each scarlet-fisted bud
unfolds yellow stamens in
pollen laden blossoms.
Nurturing dreams
of bright bougainvillea
spilling over walls.
A sunny courtyard.
You and I sipping coffee
in any tropical latitude.


Forbidden Fruit

The hibiscus
is back
inside where it’s
Grow light sunny

Bigger than ever
our K-Mart folly
could be remembering
the ruby-throated hummingbird

sipping nectar
from a scarlet flower
and the monarch resting
in her green bower

Or the particular day
in late September
an equinoctial storm
blew in and a traveler

sheltering on the porch
from the cold rain
spotted her
Probing the glass

with a delicate beak
up and down
the invisible barrier
longing for her

sweet ruby throat

Christina Pacosz has been writing and publishing prose and poetry for almost half a century and has several books of poetry, the most recent, Greatest Hits, 1975-2001(Pudding House, 2002). Her work has appeared recently in Jane's Stories III, Women Writing Across Boundaries, Pemmican, Umbrella, qarrtsiluni. She has been a special educator, a Poet-in-the-Schools for several state and city programs, and a North Carolina Visiting Artist. She has been teaching urban youth for the past decade on both sides of the Missouri/Kansas state line where she lives with her husband.



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