Crown: In Which I Compare You to a Sherpa on Day of the Dead
Take me to Eureka Springs, let me crawl
beneath the buildings, touch abandoned booze
bottles, scrape dried mud from the walls and find
the outline of my body in white chalk,
un-erased. I ask if she can hear me,
my voice swimming below the roar of star-
shine, and you open a window, you let
dragonflies into our room, you tell me
put on walking shoes, we have stairs to climb,
clouds of biscuit dough, air like onion skin,
I look to the muted moon for answers,
to the cold, dormant cornfields for shadows.
I will count backwards from infinite,
you watch my mouth, wait for me to begin.
You watch my mouth, wait for me to begin
beneath the buildings, to dig my resting
place, you offer me bourbon and French toast
although I am not a lighted candle,
I am not a ghost, transparent and mute.
Put on walking shoes, we have stairs to climb,
I follow you, as always, to honey
clouds and fields of new and hungry sparrows
who seek no answers, only mosquitos,
ragweed and shelter from the rising moon,
I ask you if she can hear me above
the roar of star-shine, you close the window.
You count dragonfly wings in our cold room,
the number too great for a flightless life.
The number too great for a flightless life,
my dreams are mute invasions of monarch
butterflies, the sky a single orange
groan, until you wake me and hand me my shoes,
we have stairs to climb. I retrace the steps
of buttermilk biscuits that you set out
for ancestors, I look to the lighted
candle, crumbs and melted wax for answers,
you tell me she can hear me above star-
shine, to eat when I hunger, ask nothing
of fields but lightning scars, ragweed, sparrows,
to count them forward to infinite.
I climb glass-soaked clouds because you never
take me to Eureka Springs, let me crawl.
"Born of the Sun" - Ellen Langford
Beth Gordon is old enough to be your mother or maybe your grandmother. She's traveled and lived all over the United States (and some of the world), and was raised by a pair of liberal Southerners who taught her how to make buttermilk biscuits when she was three years old. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She is the Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.