• Pat Anthony

Pat Anthony, four poems


The Blade

he shaped knives with ash

handles like the one that bends

to the shape of her leg inside

scarred boots

gone on forty years now and still

sharp enough to cut through

burr cucumber the ropey vines

of hopweed spines of smilax

as she blazes trails

dusk drops and her hands reek

of No Hunting purple paint

she breathes in

trying to catch the scent

of her Daddy’s gasoline

stained shirt

tung oiled boots

only catches lemon

drifting from sumac

heat rising

off the river and the blade

At the Farmhouse on the Highway

She doesn’t know where they went

just that they’re gone those strands

of turquoise and hot cerise she hung

on the arms of blue berried cedars

spiking weedy pasture fence lines

leaves them anyway snips

and twists she calls the leavings

after she’s hooked another scarf

she’ll hang from the river bridge

come winter free for the taking

imagines them wrapped like ribbons

around shivering bodies beneath

those cardboard boxes dusted with snow

shoulders swaying their way to soup kitchens

sends them missives freighted with her

thoughts that echo in empty rooms where

she throws worsted like Rapunzel

goes out only to barter for more

with fall produce knickknacks slid

from dusty shelves even as she says

she doesn’t need to know where any

of it’s gone snips twists scarves produce

tchotchkes admits that when her eyes

stay open more and more on moonless nights

she might wonder every now and then

The Weight of Wool

in a woman’s gray wool coat

from Farrar’s on the Plaza

in Kansas City

her mother’s fond of telling

people how it is

first class

while she struggles with the second

hand hem dragging

tries to stand tall

to keep it

out of muddy gutters

fails

to understand

how special it is

a find at the thrift store

on Troost

right on the bus line

being the laughingstock

at school doesn’t help

name brands tony locations

names brand

her mother cuts the shank buttons off

gray faux pearl

with silver centers

when it wears out

wool gone slick

as horse hair

beneath

a poorly cinched saddle

her shoulders too long yoked

helps cut it then

into long strips braids

a wool rug placed in the middle

of the front room by the green divan

says it’s like being walked on

She Can’t Risk Killing

poison ivy until fall

when birds nesting

on the corner post

have fled and sap

draws down the way

she feels she’s settled

into her feet today

dragging as she hikes

to the high gardens

where spurge flows out

from carrots like green water

the same color as the dead pond

its early summer layer of algae