Because there is a phone booth
in St. Paul, where I want to be kissed
swift as a stolen car going nautical
in the rain. Jinxed and put on love’s
blacklist, I had flunked all the tests.
Got sent to the principal’s desk,
(a pendulum and a metronome)
for dreaming improbable dreams.
I kept a diary in my head for
the complexity of living rooms.
Doors creaked like sugar
to a toothache. Loneliness bodes tight
to a body stowed in a trunk.
Because there is still room
for heft and kindness, we found
love’s office in a movie theatre.
I wept over a fish that reminded
me of my dad. A bounty of sound
wooed us, all by a man sweeping
the silence and moving it. Your fingers
wove something resolute into mine,
as if to catch a baseball or a snowflake
on the tongue. You found my
best kept secrets—There crooked into
the top shelf of memory’s tree house,
the letter you carried with everything
gathered from the earth—string,
three theories of an argument, a lock of hair.
A life-time of words scratched in
the walls of a shot-gun shanty
lit-up beside a river—where grace
is nestled between to protect us
from the elements and the answers.

Cynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers and the forthcoming collection In The Event of Full Disclosure. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, American Letters & Commentary, BOMB, Del Sol Review, Florida Review, Harpur Palate, The Journal, North American Review, Seneca Review, Tampa Review, Valparaiso Review, and Verse Daily, among others. Atkins is a former assistant director for the Poetry Society of America and is currently an assistant professor of English at Virginia Western Community College. She was founder and artistic director of Writers@Jordan House/FAIR, which held reading series and workshops. She will be launching In The Event of Full Disclosure at the Sacramento Poetry Center on July 22, 2013. More info on upcoming readings and events:
*Photo courtesy of Brandon Koger.
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