Spring 2009, Volume 6

Poetry by Amy Nawrocki

Losing the Summer

Winter enters the body and it collapses,
the blood cells attack, the fever leaves
the brain with its patterns of coils
and discs like a red stovetop,
an alphabet of rivers and branches. This landscape, contoured for activity, settles
into animal hibernation,
while remnants of ancient languages howl
from the hospital monitor.

Like dried sap on a tree,
crusted, yet viable, a small scar has left itself
after the coma—such a thing is not
a deformity, but a bud:
a seed replanting its succulence,
an isthmus back to the world.

Prophecies and Butterflies

The curse lays long on me,
like the charm of a dragon's shield,
aroused from cold amusement.
It expects me to be regular, half-felt, lame;
I want to be dangerous, lose myself entirely
in a lake of zeal. When I believe
in long-haired goblins, there is harmony,
and a boat sails far from shore
with the wind blowing in my favor.

I have a thousand wishes, five
about living in Arizona with salamanders
and Indian chiefs. One about having twins
so that I could love two equally or forget
the lies I told to raise them. I wish
this damned house of mine would transform
into a palace, full of rubies,
prophecies, and butterflies,
as the dust of their wings doubles
as magic powder—magic
to story myself away from this sanctuary,
the lamppost, the chicken wire, set
with the notion there is no better way
to live than in a cauldron.

Cleaning the House

The humidity that July afternoon
sucked the perspiration out of me
as soon as I pulled up to the old house.
My brothers stood around the tall
green garbage can, sipping beer
and sorting the remnants of our father's
tool collection. On the garage walls,
rakes, shovels, and step ladders hung
like the museum items they had become:
a lifetime of utility, rusty and dented.
Wood chips and loose powder crowded
the table saw; an Adirondack chair
never finished collapsed next to
drawers brimming with screwdrivers.

Good china packed in bubble wrap,
photo albums and quilts divided
among us, the antique sewing machine
carted away months ago with lazy chairs
and end tables, we swept the house
of all our childhoods, my mother's cancer,
dad's wounded heart. When our hands

had gathered enough, we smashed
beer cans and hit them with a plastic bat
into the dumpster. Thunder broke
through the thickness of the afternoon,
and we danced in the driveway, laughing
like the children we no longer are, letting
rain pour over what we couldn't say out loud,
over the hurt, and the care, and the dust.

BIO:  Amy Nawrocki teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Bridgeport. She was the winner of the 2008 Writing Contest from the Litchfield Review, and was a finalist for the 2007 Poetry Chapbook Competition from Codhill Press. Her chapbook Potato Eaters was released by Finishing Line Press in November, 2008.