POETRY

May 2021

cheryl dumesnil

Make a Wish.jpg

on the fourth day, make a wish

Remind me who I am,

I asked the owner of the sky.

 

She showed me a rose

formed by cracks in the asphalt.

 

No, like that, I pointed

to the snowy egret gliding 

 

inches above the still 

lake mirroring her grace.

 

I gave you a rose, she said,

folding her perfect blue wings.

Scatter.jpg

because I know how to carry a flame

Sepia, jaundice, no—

bathwater after 

 

the last dusty child 

has been lifted 

 

and wrapped.

A meteorologist 

 

drags her pen 

across the stratum: 

 

smoke layer, fog, 

smoke, cloud layer, 

 

more smoke—

and it gets harder 

 

to imagine 

robin’s egg, 

 

Wedgewood,

iris, sea glass, 

 

the nose of a plane 

pushing out

 

above the gloom. 

My eyes—who

 

insist they know

something about 

 

time—ache

with the effort 

 

to draw in 

noon’s light. 

 

If depression 

were a color . . .

 

Cornea, macula, 

retina, lens.

 

How much longer

can this last?

 

Even the headlines

are dealing in 

 

rhyme: foreboding, 

orange, smoke-

 

choked skies.

I study the candle

 

flickering on my desk—

black wick anchoring

 

its tiny sun,

like a thumbtack

 

skewers memory 

to a map. I will 

 

my body to welcome 

its glow, to carry 

 

that shimmer 

in my cells—for as 

 

long as it takes

as I did you, Love, 

 

all those years 

you were gone.

CHERYL DUMESNIL's books include the poetry collections Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes and In Praise of Falling (University of Pittsburgh Press), the memoir Love Song for Baby X (Ig Publications), and the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos (Grand Central), co-edited with Kim Addonizio. A ghostwriter, editor, and writing coach, she lives in Northern California with two teenagers and her wife, Sarah. WEBSITE. 

KALE CHESNEY is a queer photographer and designer living in Portland, Oregon. A visual storyteller, they received a BA from University of Santa Cruz in Printmaking and Photography. They grew up in the country, collect cameras, and avoid cilantro at all cost. WEBSITE. INSTAGRAM.

  

(Image credits: Kale Chesney, by kind permission of the artist.)