Stirring : A Literary Collection

T.L. Stokes


I have two okra for eyes this morning,
and can't seem to find anything
to stir them up with. It is 5:30 and aching.
A girl of fourteen stirs the coffee ground
hollow in the pit of me. Losing an Army sweatshirt
right in front of her, it hides on the tired recliner.

I wait

warming the polished van on rotated tires.
She will complain.
I need you to be there, telling me to get ready.
She's just asking me to complain,
but I've given that up.

So I mold into the seat feeling peaceful,
for a minute. Feeling too, the airy tendrils
of porous guilt. The not being good enough.
The needing to tell my lover some seaweed
stories, the green truth. Don't talk to me so
much about our bodies getting slick,
the heat news. Wait,

till I board the winged whale
high-centered on her washed belly,
and fly to you on a Thursday whim.         
Till my feet land at the steps
of your apartment on the canal,

and I undress.

Till I lose my motherhood
and stand like a teenager in love,
all hormones on fire and beating skin.
Then tell me all about purple pearls
and gorging, the mocha twins,
steamed up and on the way
to losing it.

The wheel warms with the purr
and she arrives, in all her too-early curlish irk.
For all the bravado, I realize,
turning tender and knowing when to be silent,
she is as scared as I,
and just as tired.

Location: North Bend, Washington
Publications: Little Brown Poetry, Rogue Scholars, Poetry Super Highway, 2River View, Ancient Wind Press, , etc.

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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