Poetry: Nina Bennett
I remember the night we drove
across Wyoming plains, rodeo weekend,
hotels sold out. Tired and cranky,
we pulled off the road, laid on our backs
in a field. Warm earth soothed
our aches. No farmhouse or barn
lanterns to interrupt the night.
The Northern Lights sprang
from your fingertip, danced
on the western midnight stage
as you traced constellations,
pointed out stars. Scorpius,
Big and Little Dipper, Arcturus,
You told me the legend
of Devils Tower, your voice low,
soft as the summer air. Chased by bears,
seven little girls climbed onto a rock
that grew upward like a ladder,
carried them to the sky where
they became a cluster of stars.
Bear claws left furrowed columns
in the sides of the tower.
Silence thick as a blanket descended,
settled around us. We watched
a shooting star sprint across the sky,
perhaps a sister who changed her mind.
Wear Your Love Like Heaven
Tenth grade French class,
Madame made her mouth do things
you imagined in half-formed daydreams.
Not enough experience to swallow
the Rs, produce sounds like a polished
stone lodged in the back of your throat.
You longed to release vowels that rumbled
and rolled the way an avalanche starts,
gathering force as it roars down the mountain.
Which is how we loved, that spring,
how our eyes shot sunbeams
across the classroom. Electricity arced
from our fingertips when we passed
notes in the hall.
By senior year, Rs spilled from our throats
like a mountain stream swollen with snow melt
in May, sought refuge in damp, spongy moss
by the creek bed in the canyon