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
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
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.