Magdalene Poems

Magdalene (5)

Her first love,
She knew,
Would be her last.

Dashboard odor,
Red leather seats,
The cackle of
Drive-In speakers,
Cemetery walks
Among the murmurless,
The eye-watching moon.

Even when she married,
There would be no rivals
To her first surrender,
Who stormed his way
Into her deaf heart.




Magdalene (4)

When I was horse-drawn young
On a careless summer night,
Promises slipped from my tongue,
Like random, drenched branches
On hurricane streams,
Fidelity waiting patiently
On the arid shore.

For you demanded symmetry,
I, in the angled shadow
Of your sun-bleached certainty.

This artifice of order,
Sapping my desire,
Jostled me to turbulence
And humid winds,
Breathing life into
My canvassed heart.


Magdalene (3)

In her sunrise bed
She could
Reinvent the
Deft possibilities
Of her birth,
Searching for
Friendly apertures
Along a fluid canal
To be exhaled
Into the welcoming world.

How shall she appear?
Brief-case ready?
Starled as a stray cat?
Or be what
She would be–
Her mother’s
Resented gift,
The slow-faucet-drip
Of nine months,
Dawdling with her
Stretched-stomach’s burden
In front of daily television
Weather reports
And news alerts.


Magdalene (2)

Her memory,
Like a maimed horse,
Was put down,
Itself, a faint recollection
Of things forgotten,
Misplaced, a frayed pocket
Beyond repair.

Tubes of frozen toothpaste
In the freezer,
Dusty combs
Under the hot-water heater,
A letter from a
Teen-age boyfriend
Under her mattress,
A wristwatch
On a windowsill,
Catching the precision
Of the sun’s lazy arch.


Magdalene (1)

She was too frail
To live by herself.
Stairs eluded her;
Stoves became
Shadows on the
Bedroom wall,
Fragments of
Ancient lovers;
Headlines, wind-swept
Pulled by blimps
Across her kitchen table;
Voice-mail messages,
The whispering gossip
Of foreign doctors
In surgery.