after initial shock



you…still mother warm,
a first gasp for breath,
as her heartbeat whoosh
dims to faintness
in cacophony of sound

you… a first bee sting
pain startle indignation
at size disproportionate,
at liable and consequence
in a nasty world

you…first watch father cry,
though his grief enables
your doubting confidence
to bloom to empathy

you…first knowing glance,
as implication shocks to life
a quickening awareness
of tantalizing power

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Sebastian Lucius, 1893


edge line crack


he’d known edges

since infancy…

around his crib

hand over hand

wood bars…all sides…

grade school,

he stood in halls

outside class

back against the wall

by a fire alarm…

high school,

graffiti marking


under an overpass…

he stepped crack

broke his mother’s heart


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Modest Cumart


green apple harm joy

green apple man

she warned me
I’d get bellyache
from tart green apples
that cracked open to my teeth
and made me so mouth happy
I dripped juice…
and, later then
her smirk and narrow eyes
pure Schadenfreude
at me doubled over
groaning on a couch
in the living room

how could she…not,
and I fault her…not,
for I, too, think harm joy–
know the gentle sense of it…
There! I landed on her space
and sent her back to Go!
Aha…I won. She lost!

or pious contemplation of…
There but for the grace of God go I.
or…She had it coming–stupid ass.
or the killer one…I’d never say,
She’s such a sweet thing.
heartless thought…not
far away from me,  a lot like
Don’t think bluebirds.
I’ll not disown it…never could,
this bite of human nature
that still aches inside of me


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Rene Magritte

moaning of the turtle



jarred honey caught her musing
its nectar gold reflecting sun
there on the kitchen table…
routine of the house,
placed for breakfast,
one with bee murmur
somewhere in the walls
somewhere with disconnect
to sting …that sweetness
to flash her thought
to twelve-year girlness
on a pond path to the hives
for honeycomb…

she’d spied turtles mating
bright yellow spotted black
there at the shore edge…so
she watched their coupling
ungainly…female intent
on beaking sedge into her maw
oblivious to male’s mounting
struggle to grasp her for his need
moaning rhythmic breath bleed
air… for the intersect

still…in a morning mood
she fingers honey sweetness
to her tongue…tasting music…
blending turtle moaning memory
with bee hum in the walls

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by David M. Carroll

old soul eyes


Young Mozart

Oh, yes, Mozart has them
‘though he’s not past twelve
old soul eyes…
there in Greuze’s portrait
for he looked
through windows
in a music room
where he lived
no matter where
his father traveled him,
and about his pursed lips
a pout of insolence
he knew…he knew
as do young old souls,
he was unbounded…
save for a weighty sensing
of invincible in time

old…old souls know them
note assurance in a swagger
lifted chin…impatient hands
see fire behind the glance
olds allow risks…provide space
for evolving lodestars,
stand back and wait…
anticipate the blaze

Bonnie Marshall