wicked alice| fall 2010

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C. Albert



Absence of Lace


If I look at Irene's face long enough, 

can I know her know her? 

A scared lizard hides in the sepia fields

of her eyes, sadness weighs 

her closed lips. 


My father said her voice had wings 

while she played piano at the store 

where she sold sheet music. 

I imagine her singing 

Meet Me To-night in Dreamland 

or My Sweetheart's the Man in the Moon 

as Sam waited to escort her home. 


No one understood why she chose Sam. 

Maybe he broke the rules 

with off-color rhymes, 

his stare whistled under her dress. 


And she was a yellow songbird 

in the yellow tree as she flew away,

leaving chords of dissonance, 

her body frozen in after-birth, 

her mother hysterically screaming 

she hated Sam, 


and the baby, my father. 

If only she had lived, he told me, 

his life would have been completely different.   


Sam wouldn't have abandoned him; 

caressed with lullabies, 

my father wouldn't have closed into 

a separate universe 

unable to give me love. 


I wear a white lace scarf like Irene's,

bundled in a knot over my heart.






The Maroon Field

(for Beatrice)


The boy who sat next to me 

at school was sweet as a chocolate moon. 

Numbers turned sideways 

with playful teasing. 

In bloom like the peonies 

I skipped through the field

on my way home to Mama's teacakes.


The shadowy boy who lived near there

hid in the grass    crept up behind me.

Everything I learned in school 

crushed under him

in the maroon covered field 

of his power    my suffering.


The maroon was buds breaking    limbs falling 

bruises    my chaste voice muffled underneath.


Marooned on an island and the wall 

broke. Marooned with the seed 

and the egg 

and the baby inside who 


stole my dreams. 






Because the Body Collects Experience 


Buried in folds of grey tissue, 

childhood memories spread through 

her body like a ghost 


down to her feet 

that remember the weight of pedals; 

the bicycle rolls back downhill. 

Her older brother races ahead. 


Her fingers remember the sting 

of catching his football, as if 

training for the Raiders


Her eyes remember watching cartoons. 

Bam-Bam swings a mop like a baseball bat. 

The dark circles under her eyes remember 

being in the way. 


Her lungs remember the burn 

of his hashish, blowing smoke rings 

at their shrunken reflections 

in the window. 


Her breasts remember hiding. 

His pleading, "I only want to know 

what breasts feel like." 

The greed of his fingers. 


Knots in her gut remember 

being called to his bedroom. 

Stacks of Playboys in the closet. 

His erect penis shoots sperm 

across the wall. 


Her gut remembers much more 

than she can, warns her stay away. 


Her heart contains grief of kinship lost 

in a vessel tightly bound 

to keep from shattering. 


She opens the envelope at risk– 

his words could be 

a long awaited apology 

or knives.








C. Albert lives in Seattle, Washington where she divides creative time between writing poems and making collage. Her poems have appeared in various journals, upcoming this summer in Naugatuck River Review and The Centrifugal Eye. Also, an art feature in Delirio. She has two websites,  Aerial Dreams and Runaway Moon