Three poems by Rose Mary Boehm

Cardinals

The winter god’s thumb smudges blood

stains into the skeletal trees,

gives them wings and the gift of sound

and we call them princes of the church. 

In cathedrals it’s not the ghosts who lay

cold hands on your bare arms

but the passing woosh of red cloth

contracts your skin and you wish

for the absence of unclean thoughts

and the trill of spring.




I never saw horizons until now

Between lightning and thunderclap

I counted time. 

Rain cleaned away the dusty

summer air, the mountains returned

to blue, the river swelled, I grew

ready for harvesting. And still

I hadn’t seen more than the valley.

I learned to say no,

which was not believed,

and yes, which was not honored.

Between lightning and thunderclap

I stopped counting.