Renaming the Bridesmaids
A, my first, my sister,
I name you accidental air,
Chanel No. 61/2, gypsy corolla,
half-eaten primrose mouth
shaking out the butterflies of doubt.
B, you are overall fish bowl Ophelia
making faces on the stairs. You are scrubbing
my heart slowly with sea salt.
C, my strawberry monster,
walking dada dreamboat with voices like vitamin beaches—
you have gone insane Christmas lights blinking: pay
D, I name you licorice marionette, anti-geometry,
my brittle lisping monkey girl:
funny goddess of yogurt and menthol panty love.
E, your face is full of impossible Italian Vogues
buried by brothers and notebook paper.
You are not happy, eyebrows like cranes
lifting up the weight of your contempt.
F, I name you heir to my womanhood.
You are Easter wearing cardboard crowns to bed.
G, you are a hotcake griddle. You are lemon lake sister.
Knitted, Southern fried by vice that keeps your clockwork
H, I name you plum heels, sweet bun head,
office staple stealing bandit sipping tea.
I, a kicky eggnog. Death rattle on broken roller-skates.
J, wray on low fences, brown electric twine,
nodding and trembling bear tongue.
K, I call you Christmas polish,
plastic glitter ball staddling county lines.
You are a red lipped car, wet one, your pores leak sage.
L, barbarous tree trunk, pudding bowl.
You are a warm pulled fig. You are Isis.
M, I call you spiral lion, jellybean,
steel fedora love sprouting mushroom gods in your wake.
N, you are cool milk ladle, meat and soil,
daughter of grass, coin, pencil. You have pulled out
the empty pockets of Missouri and bleached them.
O, I name you butterflied caterpillar of peach,
damp palm full of coal. Little girl playing woman playing
little girl. Jester of ten thumbs waving.
P, little brown bean, anger nut, tidal roses choked.
I name you water logged puppy biting hand.
Q, you are royalty fallen, bumble flush, Auntie Mame,
You say the wrong things and I name you. I name you.
R, you are chattering teeth. I name you ginger bone, rubber
itch, asphalt oranges
rolling open in the surrender of hidden knives.
S, sweet banana leaf, limp wrist full of nickels, labrys.
T, you will never be woman. You are tiger strife, fluted
jasmine clock whisper with a corporate mail room heart.
U, I name you seaweed pipe, wasabi-footed nymph
shod in purple, shod in industrial-strength tread.
V, you have spilled all over the floor. You are bison.
You are curly forehead, open red.
W, you are a full zero, a bottomless jar.
You are the thick salt of a dead man’s float, turtledove.
X, you are zipperd paper cuts, unloved flannel.
You are a grasping mauve briefcase in my bed.
Y, I name you soft tile, uncertain wind change. Okay?
You breath leaves ellipses in the air.
Z, my last, my sister. I call you imp! Weather bubble tossed
baby mountain goat playing piano with swinging hooves,
terminal alphabet love beside me
saying, go ahead but meaning stay.
-from the Sally Mann photo, 1989
Everyone’s been swimming at least once,
they show that fatigue from fighting
the current and now their legs fall open
too easily, hands barely palming
tins of beer, a book, as the sun drops
past the high boughs, the house eves,
thank god, where Jessie hangs from
a hayhook—white stroke of girlhood
stretched, dead deer with the skin
just pulled off to await the splitting.
No blood yet, but soon.
And Virginia there with her mouth
pressed around a rubber tube, hand
shaking something invisible and
moving too fast for the dusk.
Mindlessly she puts her lips
to the trumpet, the plastic snake,
the snorkeler, the long black tailpipe.
November and the Two-Tone Girl
The school heaters hum, they are spice color.
I am skinny fingers.
I am pumpkin foo-foo scuttlebutt,
air woven thick in faded mustard.
I am a postcard from 1972.
Spice like rum soaked sand sounds,
tobacco chiggers crawl up my pants.
Air, you cold ear-tugging mother,
I am peeling from the yearbook.
I am bitten.
Tobacco, my lust packed in a shoebox,
you don’t turn to coin, you turn coffee and leak.
I am not fit.
I am a tired stair climbing goat,
brick legs clinking into place. The mold is setting.
You bustling nanny gulls eating the rooftops,
my face is flaking. Come rob me of cheese.
Brick stomach turns once, no more.
City has a vellum dome.
It is sleepy.
My little, my two-tone girl.
I am a bowl full of muffin batter,
city pedaling through on your right, on your left,
the heat on your face
as you crease with the will to remember.
Karyna McGlynn is a writer and photographer
living in Seattle. Her work has recently appeared
or is forthcoming in Wisconsin Review, Poetry Salzburg
Review, Plainsongs, No Exit, The Paumanok Review & Lummox Journal.
Ms. McGlynn is a four-time member of the National Poetry Slam Team
and the editor of Screaming Emerson Press. She attends the creative
writing program at Seattle University and teaches performance poetry
at the University of Washington Experimental College. Her newest
chapbook is entitled The July Poems.
Email: Karyna McGlynn
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