forgetting the name but remembering the face

Posted by on 07.05.09 | 5 Comments
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This is a guest post from Elizabeth Stauder.  Liz is a senior at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.   Thanks to Liz for sharing one of her most  recent poems with us as an entry for this week’s One Single Impression prompt: the stranger. 

I live on the side of the mountains where everything burns.
Coming out of the valley and its thick dripping hair
into cinder and dust, pines like ache tall and straight
with hands like the dead,
whose leaves sound like bones filled with wind-
I turn off the wipers and
melt into the golden evening,
red car a red lick on highway 106.

I live in the part of the world where
you can’t tell the dead from the living
where breathing is a raspy treat
and staring hard at something
makes it catch fire.

In my dry-bones house is a wedding dress full of holes,
an old skillet, and the skull of a cat which grows eyes
at midnight and watches the rattlesnakes
turning circles in the weed garden.

In the valley a friend leaning toward me told me
I was his muse.  I hope in his dreams I am ebony,
a raven under the mangled shadows in some
desert scene where the light turns from gold to red
and there is a figure there whose cool hands
have long fingers like spoons you’d lay in a row.

I hope the angel I was in the white dream of the past
whose hair held stars
has morphed like fire spitting
into the diabla who carries
her own swollen heart to the altar
of thorns wearing snakeskin, the pelts
of toothed animals,
and mouthing the opposite of love.

Rolling down the window to smell the sage
and gritting my jaw in the dry hot air
zooming homeward I know love has
buried itself strongly enough into me to make this bold move:
to forget its name,
fearlessly entering the emptiness
on the other side.

Submission for this week’s One Single Impression prompt: the stranger.  Click on the link to see other poems about this same prompt.





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