Two Poems from Michael Bagwell
PORTRAIT OF A GIRL IN A MAN'S RAINBOOTS
Nothing has seeped into your skin
even as you were gathering, note by note,
the ocean in your palms.
Back in the slow country,
I took your big, empty boots for a walk
and they felt like boats
being washed ashore in a storm.
It was no longer raining and
I thrashed through the underbrush,
raising my knees into the clouds—
each twig-snap like the sound
of a nail hammered into a cross—
until it grew dark and I reached the point
where twigs end and the sky begins
THINGS WRITTEN ONTO YOU
You are the color of dust piled
beneath church frescoes when shadows
are more solid than the things they carry.
In the abandoned house,
the flame of a candle closes its tear ducts
and now rehusks its emotions to focus on you.
The freezer drips a blood-like substance,
but it is not blood, it is the juice
You do not notice and each time you
go to pull out the ice-cream,
another stain crosses your breast.
Each month a new line.
The marks resemble the flame
and the corn husk,
but you fail to notice the significance
of this and can no longer
recognize Demeter's script.
It says only "woman"
but even that comfort
has been denied to you.
Michael Bagwell lives and writes in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Dark Sky Magazine, Breadcrumb Scabs, Short, Fast and Deadly, and Collective Fallout, among others.