Friday, March 27, 2009

penelope ~ Emily Howard

For many years I had stayed next to the maid so that
When he returned, his body was unfamiliar to me
All night I crashed against him, wave against rock until
Morning and china cup colored relief-my tea tasted soapy and sweet
I gazed the careworn face -an absent minded return.

It was his fingers, spatulate against the cup
My tenderness returned for that instant
Our silences seemed cinematic
And full of strange beauty.

There were details to discuss, a matter of
Course, I needed to show him the property
I took him to look at the old sea wall
Do you see how the stone has been gradually transformed by the water?
I do not see, he said, nevertheless I will attend to it.

She and I nestled like birds
Our nests made of small quotations and scraps of

I wove and unwove
Everyone, including me
Grew tired of the same story

Frequently in dreams,
I did see him
Prow of a ship with his hand around a coffee cup
Such a majestic breakfast table.

His collusive body
His silence.
His sex
I take it in like a necessary medicine.

Truth is I wanted it.
Cessation of this ceaseless
Bird chatter.
Yet through this healing I am also hollowed.

I weave and unweave
By the old sea wall.

Emily is an opera singer, hack pianist, teacher, organ pipe polisher, evil part actress, theatrical director, waitress for nuns, prep cook for priests, libretto writer, mermaid, muse, and Agony Aunt. She lives in Brooklyn, The poems here are her first published poems.

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