Magdalene Poems

Magdalene (15)

Anne was her second,
Conceived in sultry lust,
A sly accident in July,
When forgetting
Was the new habit,
Spring having had its way
With bold promises
And anxious rain.

She would be remembered
As a casual glance,
The slim afterthought,
A hidden footnote
To her mother’s stories
Of life’s hoarse curses.


Magdalene (14)

George, her husband,
Loved his silence
Like a cold beer
On a humid August night
Or a coiled snake
Content in the silent brush,
Its arctic mood unmoved
Even by two robin’s eggs
Falling from a tipped nest.

Too easy to accept arbitrary gifts,
The pursuit diminished by chance,
The trophy soiled by repetition,
George would wait
Until the particles of dust
Would settle from every argument
Then return to the void
Tasking his way into anonymity.


Magdalene (13)

What is this pace called Life?
She would ask.
Two children too many,
Her sweet burdens,
Carried delicately,
With the cold resentments
She lugged,
Restless in the torpor of finality
She had pledged
To George, her trophy,
Gathering the tight-lipped dust
Of her indifference.


Magdalene (12)

Eric, her first child,
Was tall
Like the pine tree
In their back yard.

He reached for the sun,
But settled for a half-lit moon
Behind scattered clouds.

In his twenties,
Eric wandered into many
New England towns
Which quietly took him in
As just another farm hand
With no plans.

After four beers,
Eric recounted two memories:
His bedroom full of
Unopened Christman gifts.
“Never like surprises,” he said.

And another dust-ridden story
About reading War and Peace
In his Ford pickup,
After playing miniature golf,
When he was nineteen.


Magdalene (11)

She loved their dull eyes,
All purpose scalded
From their fleeting lives.
Nothing to lose,
Their old aims
Welded into solid
Junctures of brevity,
Their callous destinies
Resting on the warm breasts
Of fawning women
Who will themselves
Into damaged smiles
And stained motel sheets.


Magdalene (10)

Her wedding happened,
Formality dimming
The brazen light
Of her floating world.

Now, decisions
Would be made,
Finality descending,
Like a rabid eagle,
Upon weightless chance.

Escorted to the
Resting place
Of unbending oaths
And exit-proof promises,
She would learn
To wander
Into the craggy patches
Of her restless mind.


Magdalene (8)

Casual goodness
Was all she could manage,
Steeped as she was
In forgetting
The hard-core gifts
Of kindness
She performed
With bee-sting
Carefully carved
On the belt
Of her demon mother’s
Notched obligations.