I have a red dot that looks like a penny. It may not seem like much but it’s the beginning—this coin is the seed of my spirituality. Pound for pound the scales will balance. As I roller skate around your aura, the ground comes up to meet me: fearlessly I bounce like a quarter off a perfectly-made bed.
My navel attached me to my mother, led me to a new world where I was more than just an apple or orange. In this hybrid experience, I could be grafted into a new breed, a poet/racecar driver/cosmetologist. I could write with six arms, my engine purring, my hair-blower mouth puffing “Ready. Set. Go!” A checkered flag drops. Sonnets billow from my tailpipe, drift to the clouds.
I have a squishy core, like jelly in a donut. Take a bite. It’s good, right? The earth keeps its magma under wraps until it bubbles to the surface with an “oomph!” How much of our lives can we truly control? Breathe in. Breathe out. Chant ohms.
My heart is locked—yours has the key. Together our colors bloom on the wall like these paint samples, little bookmarks of sapphire and antique white. Can we remodel our hearts? Mine feels a lot like Formica. Yours, a plush throw pillow. It’s a new life—let’s go.
Sometimes I say “Great” when I mean “Uh oh,” a sob caught in my throat like a stick turned sideways. My dog loves to fetch, even after I’m tired. I could cough it loose, but where would it go? My poor puppy doesn’t know why I’m screaming. Now the stick’s gone, I miss it. I climb the fence into my neighbor’s yard.
Imagine Cyclops with three eyes or me, at thirteen, a pimple in the middle of my forehead. Who could love someone who sees so much? Can the one who sees everything love herself? An empty mirror is a dangerous thing. A vain queen gone—poof! An opaque ghost. Still, nothing is ever erased.
My fontanel is fully closed like a moon roof. I might start climbing the stairs to heaven, Led Zeppelin in my earbuds, a rosary around my wrist or stay grounded, a lighthouse beacon pulsing onto rocks, mermaids and mermen with tangled hair. The sirens are singing in my head. Sweet chorus, open my spirit.
-- Denise Duhamel’s most recent book of poetry is Scald (Pittsburgh, 2017). She is a is a Distinguished University Professor at Florida International University in Miami.
Barbra Nightingale's latest book, Alphalexia, was published with Finishing Line Press. She is an associate editor for the South Florida Poetry Journal. Barbra lives in Hollywood, FL.