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Cherryl E. Garner

January 2010

Practical Loss

Practical Loss

The practical loss
of chronic soul aching
is the migraine crown
in the left eye that leaves
a blindness of all key letters
in only all key words.
Stop is crystalline top.
Sun is a bruising un.
Blue is too much like ooo.
Bruise--too much like ooze.

Abelard and Heloise, First Introduction

We are then to be always Eve, we wayward women.
When will we gain our full rick of wheat?

Lasciviously, according to his own Latin, Abelard could beat
Heloise, because he could.  It might help her to Heaven, even.

Her medieval back, strong bones left stripped despite
the golden brain, misogyny was trumpet, spit in air.


Some Fridays, I scream, out, real, loud
while cranking my car windows down,
so when I shriek, tongue lolling out,
I know my radio.  I go

so slow to decompress, but latch
my safety locks on, just in case.
I pull my seatbelt tight, so I
don’t bolt outright to center line,

a rolling mess, all movie blood
and brains, when from some any day,
dull effort, numbingly, my line
of sight whites out, bores me away.

It’s like some things just stick to me,
sometimes--fly feet to gummy strips.
I’m glommed onto like cheap red paint
to cracking sheet rock.  I have angst,

spectacular, in spades.  I dream
too hard, way weird.  My drama’s thick.
I walk you there.  I hear you here.

Synapses snap, pop up, then crack.
Concluding, any other me
would do for most.  I howl, then choke
and cough on my front step towards

my missing moon, my Saturn rings,
like there’s a pack out there for me,
a solar system one brane thin
where I’m not necessarily
so free but new and level.

Washing Hair While Grieving

After viewing horseshoe sprays,
the random pots from florists, ordered,
after touching limbs and face,
after coffin closes,

one must wash one’s hair, just so.

Imagine a gorgon’s head, plugged in
to wattage, right, so each snake stem
and length stands straight out, radiates
like slicing swords, then twists like rasta braids.

Where is the running water?

Soap can’t skin or scrape away one cell
of true new grief.  No banshee shriek
or wail in pillow ticking, blue/white stripe,
no salty, shedding tears can bring him back.


While we’re mining infinites proposed by string theories;
while we’re adding parts of broken atom to the Oxford English;
while we’re translating time into language, quartet women’s chants
dust the Houses of God for our inhabitation.

Micromites and matter hurled from line-hung, beaten rugs,
could not propel like treble clefs, tuning-fork knife edges,
bass and tenor, timbre, pitch dead straight like line
full like cosmos zero and all numbers.

Cherryl E. Garner manages a small law office in South Carolina but has her roots in Alabama.  Her poetry is often informed by her life in the South but focuses more broadly on life in general, how it can bruise and still help to bloom those who ask much from it. Although she has only begun writing again in earnest over the past few years, Cherryl's poetry has been published in print in Riffing on Strings, The Petigru Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Interrobang!?, and online in Rose & Thorn, Trillium Literary Journal, The Artistry of Life, damselflypress and Hanging Moss Journal, and has had mention in IBPC.

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