Two Poems

By Kari Gunter-Seymour


I wake to flat hair,
the tug of time spidering 
across my reflection 
tightening over my 
forehead’s bone. 

Beyond the drafty glass 
sit yellowed fields 
and ruined gardens. 
A lone bird pecks 
at some once-seeded thing. 

I am a brittle leaf 
trapped against a wire fence,
a trickle of rusty water 
teasing like the sense 
of something waiting to unfold,

leaving only the wait.
I conjure what ifs,
consider omens. 
Beg strangers to pray for you, 
make absurd promises to God.

I could not manage the gloves,
chunk after chunk, fresh-split firewood, 
that sliver sliding in unnoticed, 
but for a tiny tingle, 
in the struggle to keep up.

It was not to be needled or tweezed
besting me from all sides,
my face sphinctered
in concentration, sweat,
setting myself down 
on the wedge planked floor.

I day-dream the beach,
your tiny boy legs brown, 
sand stamped, face striped with sun. 
I choke on clouds, thrown forward, 
your assault rifle cocked, 
cradled in the crook of your arm.

Shrapnel, pinpricks grey and blue
dot your cheek and brow.
The numb sodality of death 
festers, fills your head with cruel grace,
your memories impossibly wide.

Photo by Christopher Burns