These Metallic Days
Main Street Rag, 2005
Poetry, 38 pages, $7
This title was selected for publication as a result of finishing as a runner up in the 2004 MSR Chapbook Contest.
These Metallic Days
Metal fills the crevices in my teeth.
Sometimes I taste it like the iron
you taste in your own blood.
Fine metal frames hold lenses
in front of my eyes. Wire loops
through each earlobe, bangles one wrist.
On the other a silver watch ticks away
each precious metal day. I have kept one
gold band on my finger for so many years.
When Im old if Im lucky, Ill wear a sleek
steel ball cuffed in the shank of my femur
and walk without pain. Lead
in the paint. Arsenic in the water.
I spend hours armored in my car. But today
the sky rinses electric and I
am awash. Always the knife point
pressed against my chest.
Always the cold, the hard, the brilliant.
On the simplest of days when you ride in silence
with a friend in his car along the coastal route
where the landscape passes beyond your window,
gray bands of brush, field, sea, fog, and a sudden
flock of birds leaps as one body into the air,
crosses the road, swerves into another direction,
a flash of light across countless winged bodies
then veers in shades again, what makes the spirit
soar to meet them, an interval of freedom
from the bodys bounds, and though you ride on
retain for some brief time the loftiness of wings?
There must remain in us a remembrance
of former things that like a sparrow at a window,
sees his image, flies to the glass again and again.
House That Jack Built
You cannot be the spokes for my wheel, the rim
on which my life spins. I cant be the wheel
for your wagon, nor the new mown hay
you carry in the back. Youre not the fine
brown horse straining in the harness, nor
the nail that keeps his iron shoe tight.
Id never be the driver steering around
pot holes, reins held firm, hat pulled low
against the sun. So lets ride deep in sweet
alfalfa, watch an easterly light gather.
Houses, seasons, pass by our wagon bed.
It lurches, wheels bumping, our horses hooves strike
the road ahead. The driver, pleasant fellow,
whistles off-key, never glances back.
Sally Ashton's recent poetry and reviews have appeared in Hotel Amerika, LIT, Poet Lore, Another Chicago Magazine, and Sentence: a journal of prose poetics. She earned an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars, writes and teaches in California and is the recipient of a 2004 Artist Fellowship, in Poetry, from Arts Council Silicon Valley. Sally also edits of The DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art www.dmqreview.com.