Verdad Magazine Volume 6
Spring 2009, Volume 6
Poetry by Joanne Lowery
Looking out my classroom window I watch a girl
in a purple swimsuit disappear in the purple snow
as she walks into a purple woods. See what happens
when everything is the same, the teacher in me
points out with the wisdom of a dream.
I'm stressing the importance of paragraphing,
which their blank faces learned in second grade,
and she is one of the ones who needs to be reminded
not to line up everything unbroken to the left
in loopy purple ink. If the topic
is a purple girl: indent. If the time she walks
into the purple woods changes: indent. If
the idea is to represent something new and purple,
then turn around and come back, sit down,
and be purple for the rest of your life.
Paper has a story to tell in original lavender.
A half an inch is enough to skip,
three to a page plenty to get you started.
Gowned angels stand straight as clothespins,
their wings as efficient as kites
resistant to wind, too stubborn for gravity
and refusing the easy drop to hell.
For them, forever has meaning.
But when two key circuits fail
on a passenger jet, everyone en masse
forgets that seat cushions can save the day
as flotation devices. If only.
The next day snow accepts its mission
to find common ground. Each flake
is so tired of being different from every other
that to pose like interlocking gearwheels
simulates ease. Confess, the grass whispers.
Their cold hearts admit little white lies.
dresses up like a little girl without boobies.
She wishes her sweat smelled of musk,
on tippy toes she covets high heels.
Too young, too short, unable to scoop up jacks
from the sidewalks big people own,
she is mocked for liking vanilla best
and tying shoelaces the wrong way.
Then there's the towering sister
who gets to junior high first, another set
of preferences alien to her own.
Be like us, the world whispers,
and she aches with wanting.
It kills her to sit next to another fourth grader
with a flair for ballet and lips
waxed red as Snow White and Marilyn Monroe.
Then one day a huge storm comes
and far beyond her rocky perch
a ship of myths breaks up
and swimming, swimming out of nowhere
a centaur appears begging to share.
She looks at his hooves and horsey withers
with distaste, his soggy tail less than seaweed,
and finds herself staring at his middle
where man becomes horse, horse fades to man.
He's as bipolar as she is, yet she feels
no kinship for his novelty, his duality,
his immortality and dripping leer.
Welcome, creature of land,
her human head says to his.
He paws the shingle, eager to begin.
BIO: Joanne Lowery's poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, Eclipse, Smartish Pace, Cimarron Review, Atlanta Review, and Poetry East. Her most recent collection is Jack: A Beanstalk Life from Snark Publishing. She lives in Michigan.