Pam Winters. What I like are her energy shifts within the line and her unpredictable equations. She's one of my favorites because I can see every word she says; and I can feel something I'd lost since our mothers were in their rutted yards. I admit it. I'm in constant sorrow for the past. But wait. It didn't go anywhere at all. We can live again, this time with our black cherries. Grace Cavalieri
Pamela Murray Winters grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, and some of her first poems appeared in the anthology Takoma Park Writers 1981. Other work has appeared in Beltway Poetry, Gargoyle, the Gettysburg Review, and other journals and anthologies. Her first collection of poems, The Unbeckonable Bird, will be published by FutureCycle Press in June 2018. She lives on the Chesapeake Bay and longs for a house with central heat and air.
Monster Movies in Separate Flats
half-plate soaks up history. Rusty Breedenbaum,
we’d fill it with black cherries from the tree
between the yards. They didn’t help our pies:
grainy mud pies, nothing like chocolate.
You weren’t my best friend, just my nearest.
That only summer, we went to Bible School
at the Seventh-Day Adventists’, a church not ours
but available. Our mothers in your rutted yard,
waving us off. We rigged tin cans and string
between our kitchen windows, watched Channel 5
separate but together. Your voice a buzz, a boy’s whine.
What if Godzilla pounded up Maple Avenue? And then
you were gone. I can’t remember missing you
until later. The other night, up late with the laptop,
I found a Russell with your strange surname,
dropped a line: By any chance...? The reply came terse
from a man I never saw: Rusty changed his name
when his mother turned him against me. He didn’t
tell me your new one. Who broke this dish I hold?
Night at the Artbreak Hotel
of the door, so close I can hear the shrieks
of her left hand on the strings. She sings,
a little, a song by a poet who died a week ago.
Tonight, it could soothe, but it breaks. To my
right, out the window and deep in the night,
the voices of young men joust, mad or laughing.
Engines purr, tires sigh. She gets her footing.
The melody is true. Her voice lifts. I begin
to sing along. Who hasn’t heard this song,
covered so often that its maker requested
we all stop singing it? At least for a while?
But he’s dead now, and this slagheap hotel is alive,
only a few souls trying to sleep. A bus whooshes,
like a gritty eraser, to wipe it all out. Buses,
like young men, are made for the prowl. So much
sound to my left, to my right, Am I a wall, a veil?
Do you? she plaints. And I wonder what I do.
To the Very Young Yellowjacket Who Flew Between My Foot and My Teva on the Hollins Lawn, June 18, 2010
mouthed machine that closed and
opened, closed and opened on your green town,
you looked for sweet nooks, entered
the wrong close darkness, yielded
a hair of a sting and your life.
I’ve felt it before, from some ancestor
of yours, tangled in my hair, so thick then.
Maybe another time, as well—so small
the pain, I can’t remember. To you, in
your soft body so dressed up, so
broken, it was everything.