Poetry: Carolyn Srygley-Moore


Calling Marco Polo

Playing leapfrog with my fears
calling Marco Polo in the fog / falling

with nobody there to catch me
they are all sleeping / they sleep

all day & all night & the week-through
the baby is crying

the baby is crying she is watching
Judas chased to an olive tree

where the noose hangs / chased
by crying children

& Judas is no person but a disembodied
kiss / the judaskiss of conversation

what the liar’s eyes slip
to the side / cast downward

like a black fishingline / & the eye color
changes / obscure / like

the oil spill sea.


Barnacles on my ships my hands
I touch you / wrap you with my body / to fix
what you tell is unfixable — your face turns towards the wall
like a yardful of beauty
that turns me away, forgetting.

But I forget in order to remember; as I watch you sleep
I am amongst the inner caverns of Lascaux,
amongst the painted deer, also leaping — the same deer
I see watching the blue
cars pass from roadside, flipping her tail

like a finger. She is the nude sunbather
in the graveyard. & sometimes, these days,
I walk in
upon you & God, an intrusion
almost obscene…deep caverns of my body, what

you have painted therein, with
the male body’s
stain (what we have seen!),
barnacles on my ships my hands.

Porn of My World: for my husband

He burns the films in a bonfire / deep in the moon-puddled
woodland where the circling witches dance / then
he turns to the yellow-fleshed plum / pulled from
the kitchen’s wooden bowl
(the still-life of plum orchid banana)
I know he has all the porn he needs / the porn
he truly desires
eating the plum over the sink / plink plink of juice
as of rain / sweet sweet.

I have sex when I feel broken / sex, the forceful act
being opened wide as the purple orchid
yielding as the flower’s center filled with the fluid of
sun / the semen of light
pulsing / we have sex when I am broken / his hands
move over my ribcage mending
my ribs / their fractures: he is a disciple of yellow /
hands move, stir me, sire me, shift
me / I am a silk slip over flesh of nothingness become
something / in the simple act of sex.

Sleep sleep amongst the poppies / sleep. Tomorrow all is
forgiven / perhaps forgotten / I
apologize to the stars for they too bear
their shadows / chase
them, see how far you get / they dapple
your heart like your shoulders / & the black cat mews
in the cornfield & the skunk lifts his tail
by the broken wheelbarrow / as we make love
tenderly / forgive me / make me laugh /
sleep sleep.

Yellow Umbrellas Lost on the Bus Between You & Me: 1, 2, 3

Umbrella #1) You Amaze Me

If I ask too much of you / if my dance be too eager
my hands too cupped too empty too ready

tell me aloud
rinse my eyelids with snowfall
cast my shadows beyond the wall of your garden

(your unnamable garden)
you amaze me / I need to tell you
you amaze me

earth be the pillow of my bare feet
dirt creasing my arches
I am well grounded

but can touch the burning
meteor as it trails
light through my rooms

light permeates darkness

Umbrella #2) Disabled Landmines

Our touch / our lack of touch is a series of landmines

disabled in the vastness of being

each fingerprint pressures my vertebrae

one-half inch higher I would be paralyzed from the heart down

a rhyme of the landmine disabled

but truly we have only the memory of treachery

we have our castles

our dogs & our children our parents our spouses living or not

they clamor “this is not a war any longer”

they clamor “the haunt is not haunted / the dead will visit you no more
should you trace the chalk outline on the floor”

dear homeland: sunlight wind & air

Umbrella # 3) The Windows Speak

I just realized it is raining outside
I hear water striking the leaves like tongues

I lost my yellow umbrella / left it somewhere
on a train or that noonlight bus
between you & me

I am the fingerprint on your vertebrae
I am the animal sniffing out the live landmine

you may have the optic illusion of my face
when reading the back of cereal boxes
or Beckett’s plays

or milk cartons
though I think I am missing
only to myself

& the sun knows where I am
& the moon knows where I am
& the water, he always finds me

river or ocean or rain

(suddenly I know my dreams
rise in my morning breath like red horses
cantering off into the realm

where the windows speak
& the sacred is the profane)

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