As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Marianne A. Broyles – Poetry

Heart Transplant

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.

* * *

Eating Hibiscus

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

my throat

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

permission slips.

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

crushed ice.

I remember this tonight as

we walk through

downtown Albuquerque

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

yells Whore

that cuts us

like a cook filleting fish,

spreading each side open until

they become wings

floating over soft white flour.

* * *

Marianne Broyles HeadshotMarianne 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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2 comments on “Marianne A. Broyles – Poetry

  1. John
    February 6, 2013

    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.

  2. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
    February 6, 2013

    It’s good to see your work again, Marianne. “Heart Transplant,” will stay with me for many days.

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