Christie Bingham





CONSTELLATIONS

 

For the first time I recognize Orion.

His bow drawn and poised over

Pleiades, a cowering cluster, the Bear,

awkwardly watching.

 

The boy beside me stirs,

Disturbing the puddle of beads

Pooled where our skin meets.

He begins to dress

 

And then we're at my home.

The porch light illuminates my

Father in the placid glass.

 

Arms folded, lips pursed, eyes

Open, close—buttoned up,

Like the blouse I fastened with

Unsteady fingers.

 

Were it not for the boy, whose

Hands explored tenderly,

Whose awkward mouth pursued

Me like a hungry bear, 

 

I would run to my father,

Into his widening arms

That have grown slender and yellow.

 

Instead, I kiss the boy's cheek

And linger long enough that my 

My father dissolves.

I make my way to my bedroom.

 

Through an open window, where

I see the boy's tail-lights fade,

Out beyond the tattooed sky,

I can barely make out the star-lines.

 

 

THE EYE

 

Clouds settled in, thick and quiet,

the way sleep overcomes a child.

 

Towed to shore by warm currents,

they split the horizon's dark shelf.

 

We shut them out, boarded up the windows.

But they sat. Widening over houses,

 

over days, until the smell of our bodies

took on form and the distance between us

 

registered, as one hand slipping

from the palm of another.

 

I've forgotten how the clouds withdrew—

how silence is white space between

 

two lives living, like dead air,

in the eye of a storm.

 

 

THREE POETS

 

Behind my unquiet eyes

three women are writing poems

about my father.

 

The first one kills him, drowns him

in poems that have the rhythm of the ocean

washing his body out to sea.

 

She delights in his head lying in the sand;

a pebble lit by the moon. And like a child,

closes her eyes before she skips the shiny face

across the waves.

 

Her metaphors confuse the second poet,

who thinks she saw him, gutted like a fish,

blue-lipped body on ice, one day at the market.

 

She writes about my father's ghost:

a leering lamp shade, a dark spot in a photo,

a door that opens too slowly.

 

It's only the shadow of the day,

but she swears he's there, unable

to frame him. She resigns to measure

his realness in degrees of memory.

 

He called yesterday, I argue.

But then, was it yesterday, or ten years ago?

It was January. It was September.

 

She claims my memories are under revision.


 

THE ART OF SUMO


Love is stronger than Death

roadside church bulletin

 

I imagine two wrestlers,

Bulky in their loin clothes,

Sole purpose to push the other off his feet;

Big D with his slicked-back hair

L's pouty lips and topknot.

And this is their dance:

To one-up the other around the ring

Around & around—

Until I've lost my car

Because I lost my job

Because I was sleeping with my boss

Who was married to a woman who was dying,

Or so he said.

He was going to divorce her

As soon as her cancer went into remission.

And I find myself selfishly

Rooting for Big D to knock L flat on his ass.

Because I've got a dog in this fight.

Because I'm tired of losing out on Love.

It's tricky, this tradition of living.

I've been rushing the sorority my whole life

And for once I can imagine life after Death

Lops off L's big wobbly head:

The woman who gets the guy

The promotion and, yes, the one left standing

When Love gets back on his feet.




Christie Bingham is a Creative Writing student at the University of North Texas. Her poems have appeared in the Denton Writers Anthology and the North Texas Review.









                                    

 

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