wicked alice| fall 2009

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Naomi Buck Palagi

Girl on Dock


Woman, says Neruda

††††† we see curve of hip

Woman, says Reddy

††††† we hear rroarrr

Woman, says my mother and

††††† all I know is her


Jewelry, to remind myself of beauty

Boot-heels, to remind myself of height

Man, soft and strong and hard and silky

†††† to remind myself of flesh

Scrapple, like a cat with hiss and swiftness

Smooth, like a skirt to flutter round my legs

Tangled hair and open breast, nothing before me

††††† but the sea, to breathe the wind


Definition is itself

I am I and woman and I

I am not that I

which is defined









Naomi (and Ruth): a dramatization



N: now what in hell am I gonna do over there with you allís family?




N: you all is young and pretty††† enough anyway,†† to get you a husband, no,


†††† Iím agoin back to my home I never did like this god-forsaken place I tole†††

†††† him


†††† ainít no kinda place to live over there but he


†††† never listened ainít never listened to me so you all go along now, I said


N: run along,donít make me get ugly cuz I can†† get ugly you want me to,

†††† yíhear?




N: thank you, Orpah, you got some sense now††† you take this here skinny girl

†††† with you

†††† I got no use for her I tole you Iím agoin home and you agoin home now

†††† Git!


N: `fore I start thowin these rocks like a mangy dogGit!go on,


†††† be a good girl like that Orpah, gonna get a husband since my babies

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† done died††


†††† on us, on us women, we all outta men, I ainít lyin I donít miss that


†††† doorknob husband a mine one lick he ías dummerín I donít even know my


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† poor babies


N: didnít have a chance, father like that, Iím sorry you girls got dragged in


†††† with alla us, doorknob husband and babies all gone, allíum goneÖ.





N: didnít I tell you go? I donít need you, what a stick

†††† little-girl like you gonna do for me anyhow




N: Ruth


†† alright



††††††† I do appreciate it











contra dance after divorce


save me from the earnest young men

with no souls

their possessive wooden hands scraping

the small of my back

with robot passion


give me

undulating hearts in warm flesh

smiles without controlling


whirl of humility and hope, humor

meet me, round and round and hand to hand

til blood

rises to my cheeks


do not


check me with your eager power












the other woman a ding dong ding dong ding


youíd be soo nice to come home to

youíd be sooo nice by the fire


††† give me an image†††† a bonei need

something to work with here and

This ††††††ainít cuttin it


you are you all of a sudden long coat and hat

tie you could be a movie

fifties soft††††††††††††† hard

to imagine this is all so UN


real proper what it appears†† it appears


youíd be paa-aaradise to come home to and l-


†††† but

††††††††† iíve been a clever fool and this is my home not

†† yours and it is not my call i donít even have a phone

†† line on this one you take your private call out

†† in the hall and you


or your stead change himís to talk to

her but play me vocal jazz

i spent

so much time sorry for her when

††† i could

†† have saved it for me


†††††††††††††† iíd be soo nice to come home to

iíd be sooo nice by the fire


†††††††† a ding dong ding dong ding














The Pear Tree*




†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† pocket

††††††††††††††††††††††† in††††††††††††† its†††††††††††††††††† denim††††††††††† back

††††††††††††† and they††††††††† could stroll†††††††††††† together††††††† her hand

†††††† off, where if†††† she was ††luckylucky††††††† she might††† meet the Dawn

tree, she used those hands, ate pears††† to her heartís††† content and wandered

††††††† still damn†††††† hungry) So she††† used those†††††† hands, she climbed the

††† greenish tinge)††††† (it was all very††† dťjŗ vu she†††††† thought but she was

to be†††††† and there lo††† and bee-hold†††††† were Hands!†† (Albeit with a slightly

to the†††††††† end of her†††† four arms where†††††† her hands††††††††††† were supposed

big Hard†††††††† green pear††† right square on††††† her forehead††† and it bounced

and opened up††††† her mouth††† beneath††††††††††† a tree and it dropped a great

†††† voracious rapacious and starving so†††††††††††† she tore ass to the orchard

††††††††††† †††but the next night you guessed††††††††† it she was Holy Crap

††††††††††††††††††††††† pear into her open mouth††† and she wasnít hungry

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† greenest branch and dropped a small

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††a tree bent down its

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† into the orchard where

††††††††††††††††††††††††† hungry ravenous again so she went back

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† hungry but the next night she was††

††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††open mouth†††††† and she wasnĎt

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a small pear†† into her

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† branch and dropped

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† bent down its most sup -ple

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† orchard where a tree††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† went back into the

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† even hungrier so she

†††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††night she was hungry

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† hungry But the next

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† mouth and she wasnít

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† small pear into her open

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† strongest branch and dropped a

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† orchard wherea tree bent down its

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† She wandered††††† late†† one night into an

*Start†††††††††††††† Once upon a time††† a girl††††† with no hands was hungry††

†† here



Naomi Buck Palagi has made her way to Northwest Indiana via many stops, including a "homesteader" childhood in rural Kentucky, complete with goats and lots of bare feet, some years in the Mississippi Delta as, among other things, a furniture maker and ballet teacher, and several years in Chicago doing the small theater rounds as an actor and director. She enjoys shaping tangible thingsówood, fabric, sound, words. She has work published or forthcoming in Otoliths, Big Toe Review, Moria, P.F.S. Post, and Blue Fifth Review.