Thursday, 6 July 2017

Fear, that good hallucinogen
after your diagnosis we walk the shoreline in humid July

by Ellen LaFleche

The clouds are murky dark as Rorschach blots. 
I see something witchy in the ink,
swirl of robe, handle of broom.
A cauldron bulging with brews that could cure you.

You see a woman in the murk.
Hipped and droop-breasted,
damp hair drizzling down  her back.  

Thunder prowls in from the west,
a fanged animal growling for the kill.
The ocean is all foaming smoke and hissing cinders.
A mermaid leans over the prow of a wave,
ghost nets shawled around her shoulders.  

Lightning tasers the surf. The zap,
the crackling flash. 
The ocean splits in fiery half.

Gulls glow in the sky's X-ray chamber.
I see your irradiated face bones -
the animal trap of your jawline,
the twin knives of your cheeks.

You see my winged pelvis,
that good guardian angel.
You kneel on a carpet of kelp
and take her into your arms. 

* * * * *

Ellen LaFleche is the author of three chapbooks: Workers' Rites (Providence Athenaeum), Beatrice (Tiger's Eye Press) and Ovarian (Dallas Poets Community Press.)  She won the Tor House Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Poetry Prize, the Hunger Mountain Prize, and the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Prize.  She is an assistant judge for the North Street Book Prize and a freelance editor.  She is currently finishing a manuscript tentatively titled Walking into Lightning with a Metal Urn in My Hands, a collection of poems following the death of her husband to ALS. "Fear, that good hallucinogen" is part of that work in progress.

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