Two Poems by Chloe Honum
BREAKDOWN IN APRIL
Alone in my bedroom, I sob,
and the wardrobe steps forward,
like a coffin-mother, to embrace me.
Later, standing at the back door,
a coyote crosses my vision
on a wave of snow. This
is intimacy: once, in a supermarket,
you slid up behind me,
covered my eyes, and said, guess who?
Did I recognize your touch or your voice?
I sleep with the windows open
and the rain climbs into my bed
like a lover, naked beneath the quilt.
I could roll over and wrap
my arms around the rain.
STAY BESIDE ME
The psychiatric ward has three levels. We are the day patients, and above
us are the overnighters. Above them are those in the most danger. In the
common room, the Vietnam vet tells me that his father, the fire chief,
molested his sisters. When he says, my sisters, his slow, gravelly voice
rises. Then he falls silent. I think he is afraid to be womanly. But in the
shade beneath his ball cap, the word sisters keeps rising, like the moon
above a beach where dolphins have mistaken its light for a shared mind,
and are swimming in with the waves.