Five poems by Shannon Cuthbert

Redolent

Sleep descends over this house

And leaves a blush

Of bruised fruit and eyeshadow,

A rich hidden flavor

Haunting the mirrors, and

Tinting the dreams of those who remain.

This house is vast

And many-winged as a meaningless hotel

Whose numbers ascend

Like a flock of crows.

I wear silk socks

That make my hair stand on end as I pace

And tread the threadbare carpet

With its maps and rivers

Of unnamed stains

And I want to tell the stories

Of each unnumbered room

And to pocket the people within

Like paintings.

To harvest in darkness

The spinning wheels that thread their minds

And turns air lavender,

A shade unmade in nature.

Isthmus

Bike riding, a small simple pleasure Like a cherry drop placed in the palm of a child. My bike has carved tracks In two continents conjoined, The sisters north and south. One white-haired with ice, cap of geese I smudge into smoke with my thumb. The other, gown embroidered into rivers, A pattern of vines and glass-eyed constrictors. From a bike there is poetry on each dusted road, You’ve seen it too, the way it transforms. All day under sun that poisons our blood We ride side by side, with hair and legs that blur Like lit candles held too close together.

Repair

She wore a pantsuit for her second wedding,

And her father who spoke only of the church

In the voice of a child