Today I offer you three poems with interwoven themes. Roberta Schultz of Wilder, Kentucky is a poet and singer/songwriter (among other fine things) who performs with the trio Raison D’Etre. Leslie Clark is a Clifton poet. It’s a stretch to call Xenia, where Rita Coleman lives, Greater Cincinnati, but she has to be an honorary Cincinnatian by now, as she makes the trek a couple of times a week to write with us at programs I offer. All have chapbooks forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
High Wire (after May Sarton’s “An Observation”)
Some players cannot bear
finger picks between the soft
pluck and the resonating
string. Tips wear blisters, dance
liquid sacrifice over fretboard, caressing
warm bronze, never scraping or buzzing
angel breath from triads. I dodge
the sound man’s slings, duck
thumb picker’s arrows. They would hoist
shields–bright clang of metal
on metal. Wounded digits sense
their way to truth. Daredevils inching
over taut steel.
They feel the way,
never looking down.
Previously published in Still: the Journal
A bird calls.
From our beginnings
in the womb
Music is present,
The body longs to sing,
feeling the rhythms
present in flesh
We are born
with a hunger,
the close harmonies
that will infuse
Leslie Clark, forthcoming in Driving in the Dark.
All birds want to perch on a wire, electric, telephone, cable,
strung between tall crosses of right-sized poles.
When each season’s breezes blow, tiny claws
grip tighter, a subtle movement with each sway of wire.
Wire-perching for the vulnerable and brave is akin
to night walking with a waxing gibbous moon on a rural bike trail,
Alive to contrapuntal calls of cicadas in dark tree tops,
Alert to lumpy shapes along the shoulders, mowed shags of grass.
A flicker of fear, a new one, being muscled from behind
by he-man arms, courses through this woman shadow walker.
The white moon, cool in her simplicity, able to take on all lunacy
draws the walker’s thought up with silver ribbons,
Just as skycurrent draws all birds toward her zenith
toward her circling arms, even those unable to fly.
Like birds on a wire, we winged women must fly higher
than martyr crosses, to escape sacrifice, to soar.