Possessive Case

Girl with FirefliesPossessive Case

After washing all our dinner dishes
my mother’s sister
would bloom herself
through the kitchen door
to decorate our summer porch
with her female presence.
There she’d plant
her plump woman body
like a stack of flowered cushions
at one end of our wicker couch.
Her Evening in Paris perfume
was rudely out-of-place
in our humid Texas night
in a family house where my father
is a husband…or had been
before my mother died.

Once auntie almost fainted
about the beauty of the fireflies
all twinkling in my backyard’s hedge.
Any fool knows they’re just bugs
out lookin’ for a mate.
Then my father said
they should gaze at them up close.
I watched them walking side by side
into the evening’s twilight,
then I ran into my house
and slammed my kitchen door.

Bonnie Marshall

Whitman’s Child in Pitttsburgh

pinke1.jpgWhitman’s Child in Pittsburgh

Outside a Pittsburgh window
coal’s sour smokiness
rose from chimneys
to lay gray strata bands
on drifts of whitish snow.

Inside, the child’s mother
boiled cabbage and potatoes
that steamed glass windows,
dewed cold walls damp,
interfered with breath.
The child raised a window sash.
“Shut it. You’ll catch your death.”
Hesitation. She balanced negatives…
tested them for strength
and locked the window closed.

Then…she inhaled faint purple fragrance
where African violets bloomed
on the window ledge.
She pinched their fleshy leaves
with forefinger and thumb…
stroked their dark green velvet…
imagined herself flowering in Africa
deep-rooted in loam beneath a baobab…
imagined Mount Kilimanjaro
cloud-topped across vast savanna…
then…willed herself
a snow leopard in the yard.

Bonnie Marshall

Crones Tell Me Wonders

R. Pico

Crones Tell Me Wonders

Crones tell me wonders
of times they were near death
womb warm…light beckoning…
followed by harsh second birth
to awareness of pain flashes
and return to gray unfolding.

Crones tell me of their dreams
for they dwell often there.
Then… like returned travelers…
they recount amazement
of places they have been.
“I dreamed happy babies
invited me to dance.”

Her voice trailed thin laughter.
“What do you think of that…”
She wasn’t questioning…
just gazing past me…reflective,
mind back into that world.
“How lovely it would be…”
Reflection then…was mine.

Bonnie Marshall

private exit

Artist: Sir Edward Burne Jones

private exit
he searched for a self
with incremental care
through incremental years…

he’d filled in Johari windows
with peer counselors at Big Sur…
drank peyote blossom tea
in a tipi with a shaman…
sought nirvana in a sweat lodge
on a high Montana range…
floated sensory deprived
in a tank in Berkeley’s hills…
clicked into chat rooms
to be with kindred souls…
entered testing mazes
to find the person
he thought he should be…
Kuder Preference – scientist
Myers-Briggs –  I N T J
Enneagram – Type 5 Wing 4
prescribed his life precisely
with self-fulfilling prophecy

until he found that self
within a labyrinth
with no private exit
from incremental walls

Bonnie Marshall

handprints on fresh paint

handprints on fresh paintuse-eyes-stretch_1350298i

impetuous gesture
my handprints on fresh paint…
why not use aerosol
to claim that wall…
then I reflect
that women are not
graffiti prone

where is their fire
to cast life drawn large
across imagined space
like Michelangelo’s 
naked…sacred homilies
scraped and frescoed
on a Sistine dome

bonnie marshall