The Street Is A Museum
by Cynthia Atkins
And all the shoes are anarchists wanting real earth.
My own shoe-strings of luck, gone south. Mine is
the face that holds breakable bones, inside a church
of moans. The party-goers left stain-glass fragments
and late-night whispers, smoky and vengeful
with buyer’s remorse. A coin-toss of loss
and old cassette tapes. Gnarled as Hell and
plastic threads are the filaments through nests.
Smelling of hot donuts, cigar smoke, late-night
mutterings. I think my ancestors live
in the branches, how they twirl to the klezmer
music—like a horse tail snapping in a gust of wind.
The sound of their voices fat as a school bus squealing
the breaks in rain. Grandmother, aunt,
cousin, uncle—I let them stamp their ‘madness stain’
upon my arm. Once I pressed a leaf in a book
and it rested like a birth mark—It carries me
into the kitchens where the maelstrom of life
happens. But no, you can’t have my son,
good night, I love you, stinging in the doorway.
I’ve walked through a few puddles to get to
the clouds, where there were door knobs
and wayward stars calling my name.
* * * * *
"The Street Is A Museum" was first published in Gamut.
Cynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers and In the Event of Full Disclosure, and the forthcoming collection Still-Life With God. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including, Alaska Quarterly Review, Apogee, BOMB, Cleaver Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Denver Quarterly, Diode, Florida Review, Flock Lit, Green Mountains Review, Le Zaporogue, Los Angeles Review, North American Review, Rust + Moth, Sweet: A Literary Confection, SWWIM, Tampa Review, and Verse Daily, and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of The Net. Formerly, Atkins worked as the assistant director of the Poetry Society of America. She has received fellowships from Bread Loaf and the VCCA. Atkins teaches creative writing at Blue Ridge Community College and lives on the Maury River of Rockbridge County VA with her family. More on @catkinspoet www.cynthiaatkins.com, https://www.facebook.com/Cynthia-Atkins-190490067665164/-