CHARLOTTE POLLACK - POEMS
the prophet and the poetess
i dissolve into my elements my
seeds and singing, fear and flowers and
in whispers i weave gold thread
from a haystack.
inspiration is meaningless. my hands
craft their desires
on the other side of the river, a prophet offers potions,
selling shame that tastes like
scripture on whiskey-painted lips not
unfamiliar. like cold clenched fists bursting the soft
sunset-redness of a peach.
i worship the sanctity of the fruit before
i bother with prophecies or potions
too bitter to swallow,
sugar and sinfulness bound in red threads
which bear no horns but yield too many seeds.
too many secrets.
i crack the pits one by one.
and the grass grows in the field and
dries in the sun.
the wheel turns and in your song
the prophet sees the shimmering of something
so beautifully unforgivable.
mother of all things
i can never forget the morning
that sent me into the light, cursing
the unforgivable fury of
alarm clocks, the cruel dance of bath robes
& shower shoes, the stab of a mascara wand into
my right eye, the
unjust exodus that fit the fairytale.
you saw me there
in the garden, my grief
a wedding gown i married every day because
at least one of us kept our promises. the man
caught my wrist and it bruised and now
you know who ate the fruit. now you know why
i line up lavender pills in that plastic box, why
i take my tea with a teaspoon of vinegar. now you know
why they lay me bare on that white table. why i am unable to get up
break apart the rocks
to say i
am not yet or no longer dead.
The Voice in the Temple
We are all scarred and there’s nothing romantic about it
but we are still beautiful.
I used to feel defiled when hands
left their mark on my skin, as if everyone could see
the fingerprints, now
I feel holy in the arms that hold me. If this
body is a temple,
my wrists are the sacred pillars withstanding
so many crusades against this soul
and you and I
we are the humble pilgrims searching
for sanctuary. We do not leave our fingerprints
on the walls. We leave the rooms
in better condition than we found them.
I am no saint, but I know
what worship is it is
praising God by holding His children without
leaving bruises on their backs. It is the way
you fold me into your arms, gently, carefully,
as if you are afraid of breaking me, as if
I am worth putting back together.
The Art of Staying
I have been both. The leaver and the left behind.
I have watched old “best friends” fall like sand between my fingers,
strong bonds and good times
too good, too quickly over. I have faded into memories
and candle wax, into purple smoke that curls above matches,
that settles unbidden into dreams. I see everything. Bonfires and
futures we discussed like they were certain, all the love
we had, that we thought we had, that
I feel so intensely that at times I must feel nothing at all.
I love and I let go. Pull in and push away. Old memories turn to ghosts
turn into monsters that remind us the people we keep
in our hearts are not the same people we see
in the hallways, remind us we aren’t always the ones
we see in bathroom mirrors. And you can know that one day
things are supposed to get better, but how
do you stay
when you see façades instead of faces, how
do you accept love when you could swear
you don’t deserve it?
i always knew i wanted to stumble into love in
the early stages of bloom, a mid-spring
of season. i was too green all
clammed up but with the fresh innocence
of morning like
dewdrops glistening in constellations across
scar-marked forehead too dangerously
awkwardly elegant and
i wanted the backseat kind of secret
cherry red and delightfully sour
sugared up with youthful confection
poems you pluck from unsuspecting pomegranate grins.
bite the seed. bide your time. strike softly
while the iron is hot. i blossomed upstairs outside
my father’s house before
the tides got in the way
i’ve had my share of warnings all
in blushing shades of scarlet.
all i’ve learned from Proserpine is eat the seed
and spit the wine; summer wanes and heat
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