Three Poems from Stephanie Anderson
IN A WINDOW BOX
The softened bones of my hips lay slant against the bed,
tired, as I watch the day lean its shadow, and peel the paint
from my window's pane.
There lies a fire-box beneath my heart. An alarm
that waits to split me open, but I am only his lover.
I want to air out these words, hang them like my crumpled sheets
from a clothesline to watch them come clean. But, March is in snow.
Oh, to only speak.
Outside the grass does not green. Instead it flares harsh
ugly weeds: prickly, dying weeds in my window. And now
their marriage-box, like a casket, has closed me in.
I must look how dying looks. I must feel how dying feels.
-after William Butler Yeats's Memory
I pretend I am new, open my legs only
to the meaningless; I deny myself
the intimate touches of gentle men. Instead,
I demand its death;
now I pursue it only within the leaves
of beautiful women
and the turning of their pages.
It bends like moonlight across my bed
reminiscent of some discarded negligee.
But, the sheets, they do not move,
because I am not moved – by men or gods –
I have stopped climbing great monuments –
I can not escape hell by any other means.
This room does not stir nor stray –
for the dead’s belongings never thaw.
And no tiny statues help to save me
from the violence of the fall.
THE DISTANCE THE DEAD HAVE GONE
I want to show you the poverty of my body,
and lay it down with yours. But, you lay,
a brilliant man against the red of my chair,
Asleep, as in a dream.
Our truths lie in different meanings,
foreign soils and untouched faces.
I have always tried to reach you.
But now I half turn away, half stay.
Do you feel the lifting of my hands?
Stephanie Bryant Anderson lives in Tennessee. Her poetry has been published in several online and print magazines throughout the US, and the UK. She has upcoming work in Right Hand Pointing and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She co-edits the literary journal, Up the Staircase (www.upthestaircase.org), a venue for confessional poetry. Her first book of poems, The Paper-House, is available through Lulu.com.