Two Poems


Maureen Daniels

THE NAME OF THIS GUN IS VESPERS

 

Did I get your eyes right

in yesterday's poem? All

 

slashing pencils and film

on fire. Or could I have

 

done more with your hair?

Arranged it with something

 

less than fists? This pistol is

more dangerous than I can

 

make it: the sloped handle

as polished as your wife's

 

best cane. The face with a mouth

like a shark. Who wouldn't

 

want to pull that trigger?

Now you step into the fever-dream,

 

little swan. The cicadas will not

taunt you this year, this summer

 

of poisonous rooftops.

Your steady hour is green

 

as diamonds, slick

as the surface of storms,

 

with a crowd too stewed

to search for shelter. Maybe

 

I should have done something

about your shoes, the black

 

patent leather and buckles fit

for wedding. When you're

 

out of print in America, don't

come running for me. Don't come

 

fit to my kingdom asking

for another prayer. That gun

 

will always point in one direction. 

Ache instead with that idle

 

crowd at the edge

of your city. Or listen to it

 

after midnight on the all news

radio while the massacre

 

sleeps, still as matches

in the face of the bomb.

 

 

 

THE MORNING OF OUR STILLNESS

 

It all starts with words too small to read,

requiring measurements.

 

I’ll let you be the hero,

reaching for the jar of pancake flour,

 

while I pick the stems off blueberries.

Someone looking at us

 

through the window

might call this devotion,

 

the way your watch reflects the sunlight,

or where my hair, slick from sleep,

 

curls in the place your whispers

tend to linger. The skillet

 

sizzles with heat right before I burst

into tears again. For months

 

I was almost a mother, hunched

over a crib in the darkest corner.

 

Now I am only a winter, fondling

useless berries, their indigo

 

skins, sweet wreckage.

We are no longer expecting.

 

 About the Writer
Split Lip Press

Maureen Daniels was raised in Northern California and England. She has won awards for visual art, Equestrian riding, and guinea pig breeding. She likes watching reruns of Absolutely Fabulous, cooking for her teenage children and going to baseball games. She dislikes country music, Barbies and writing author biographies. Maureen continues to live in NYC with her daughter and a Dalmatian named Pink.