Spring 2011, Volume 10

Poetry by Olivia Somes

The Morning Switch

As morning light trickles down her face
from the midline crevice of curtain
I realize
I am no longer moved by this—
the sun daddy-long-legging across her cheek
her knees locking a fold of blanket
the inflation and deflation of her breast
the elongated deep breathing of her sleep
disturbing me like a conch against my ear
imposing the dreary audio of sea in my bed. 

        Am I stuck, here, with her
        while the world breeds fresh love  
        as fast as dead skin becomes dust.
        She’s the dance with old grandpa
        mother used to impose:

At Aunt Audrey’s wedding
a buffet of kids were free from
parental eyes now dipped in alcohol
like olives floating in martini—
smoking cigs in the parking lot
thumbing icing off the wedding cake
pestering the limo driver for a ride
I’m stuck waltzing with Grandpa
strapped in the slow carrousel of limp and cane
as my sadist relatives snap photos
amused by my bondage—
whipping camera flashes
across my face
ordering smiles
as I’m hogtied
to light blue ruffled tuxedo
to the perfume of old cigar.

He died six years later;
I refused to see him lowered into ground
like old love letters are lowered into shoe boxes;
I sat Indian style on a flat headstone
my butt fixed on top of strange dead
my back fixed against new, known, loved dead
stuck unable to turned around
fingers locked around his brown cane
my tears polishing its lacquer; 
           then I realized
I was his grand child
he loved best—
R-rated movies
ice cream before dinner
the first one at my softball game
sometimes the only one
sandwiched on bleachers
between dominos of fathers
tipping his gray flat cap
pointing his slender cane
 “That’s my potato bug.”

His cane now rests in the corner
of my room where morning light shines
through the midline crevice of curtain
to her face—highlighting each rose
blossomed cheek each thorn of facial hair
as particles of air dance in circles—guided 
by the lovely release of her breathing.
She’s awake with a worrying sunlit stare
brushing my bangs behind each ear
gently wiping the corners of my eyes
aligning our faces with warm hands.



BIO: Olivia Somes is a creative writing major currently attending California State University, Long Beach. She started writing poetry over two years ago and loves it. She hopes to one day write a graphic novel and a television pilot.