Serving Her Well
Under black bough of deceit,
corners of this room pulled
then pinned in,
he calls her over.
It’s not this-she he wants
as air blurs into gray, dismal fish
squirming in someone’s God’s seining net,
festooned from one shore to the other.
He wants a thing inside her
so deep she swears
she can’t have it. But she does.
Rules here say she should hand it over on
a red velvet pillow, a soft cube of delight
cradling a precious she,
a jeweled she,
a robbed she
hiding with her back to a wall
as long as she can stand it.
What she doesn’t remember is
how far she was from touch,
her left hand his cold and tiny bird
straying from its unintended perch
as soon as it could,
the ceiling a crushing, oppressive cloud
trying to make of her shoulders
a saddle she didn’t understand.
She doesn’t understand.
Her Grave, Her Plot
A Grand Forks, North Dakota police report suggests Destiny Weaver may’ve been dead 12 days when her body was transported to Minnesota in the trunk of a car by her mother and boyfriend. –synopsis of a Grand Forks Herald story 2-22-07
What does it mean
to name a baby girl Destiny Weaver,
as if she herself might have a chance
to spin her own life’s story?
Not—a car heads from Grand Forks
along a Minnesota highway to Thief River Falls,
stops at a St. Hilaire convenience store,
while twenty below, frozen air accosts
Witnesses see the body of a child,
a two-year-old, wrapped in a blanket,
taken from the trunk of the car
by deputies who shouldn’t have to understand.
When they remove her
from the most heinous of mangers
in a most unpredictable resurrection
that they are wise men
reluctantly learning how
someone who seems small can be
nearly impossible to lift—
Her swaddling clothes
woven inevitably into a shroud.
Supposed to swallow
what I know,
make it a song badgering
my belt from the inside.
Supposed to smile
along to “Love Will Keep Us Together”
at a great bar with cool curios hanging from the ceiling—
-an inner tube, a mannequin.
Nice pants well pressed against my perfect pelvis,
a gleaming microphone in my right hand,
my fingers, five fabulous metronomes, pulsing against it.
You’re six when you figure it out…maybe five.
And all the lyrics you’ve ever known
dribble down your throat, bad pabulum,
Tomorrow, like every day, is my birthday.
Nancy Devine teaches high school English in Grand Forks, North Dakota where she lives. Her poetry, short fiction and essays have appeared in online and print journals. She is the author of a chapbook of poems, “The Dreamed,” published by Finishing Line Press in 2016.