A Space for Writers of the World
Franklin is so tall and solid, I imagine his bones could stretch into a Redwood
and his feet could transform into a fern, barely touched by sun.
Behind heavy black-rimmed glasses, his eyes are dark, distant branches while his heart
is a bonsai, each beat measured like small cuts from pruning tools that stunt its growth.
I ask the questions of a psychiatric assessment and, in this moment, Franklin is not
suicidal … he believes he can go on living even if only because others count on him.
As I consider this, I place the stethoscope’s bell against his chest, listen to his heart
pump blood as he tells me what no nursing text could ever teach … the reason he cries
more … it’s because I have the heart of a woman.
* * *
The first time from a slice of cake
I imagine this will do beautiful things
as it rolls from my tongue down
the unlit staircase that is
in my body
that is the only mansion
I’ll ever have, my corridors of
flowers tumbling, deep pink flush
nuance of perfume
and all else this eaten bloom is,
all else it implies.
* * *
Summer Camp 1978
I was learning to shake it at eight
at the Methodist Cheerleading Camp;
it was something
my mother didn’t like
even though she signed all those
But there I was
shaking it to Night Fever,
on borrowed pom-poms,
until mine arrived in a box
that seemed way too skinny
for what was inside—
blue and white pom-poms,
the very same batch, we were told,
as the Tiger Cheerleaders.
Opening the box was disappointing.
What was supposed
to be blue and white pom-poms,
full and transformative,
were two things lying there
like dead squid over Styrofoam peanut
I remember this tonight as
we walk through
in crisp skirts.
You pause to light a cigarette
your hand fumbling through your purse
searching for your lighter like a lost word
when a window
slides down and some frat guy
that cuts us
like a cook filleting fish,
spreading each side open until
they become wings
floating over soft white flour.
* * *
Marianne A. Broyles’ first collection of poetry, The Red Window, was published by West End Press in 2008. She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
She earned her creative writing degrees from Emory University (BA) and the University of Memphis (MA) and now lives in Albuquerque where she also works as a psychiatric nurse. Marianne’s poetry has appeared in Puerto del Sol, Snowy Egret, Santa Fe Literary Review, Red Ink, Poets of the American West (2010), and in The Florida Review Native American Issue (2010), The Raven Chronicles, and The Yellow Medicine Review.
photo credit: Diane Fields
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What depth, Broyles writing flows like a bird on wind. I was fortunate to catch a reading of her works, hearing her poetry transformed into spoken word is soft yet powerful,her poetry does not end with the ink.
It’s good to see your work again, Marianne. “Heart Transplant,” will stay with me for many days.