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3 poems by Eve Kenneally - The Feminist Wire

3 poems by Eve Kenneally

South

 

In between, I brush my teeth in a truck stop and remember

how to fishtail my hair. Mostly my hands cramp

around the steering wheel, strange names echoing behind my eyes.

Chilhowie. Jensi feeds me strips of seaweed, wasabi salt

stinging my lips. Alhowe. Lauryn Hill croons under my questions

about exits and rest stops. Blountville. I hate everything about driving.

My shirt slicks my back, shoulders peeling into vinyl.

Hungry Mother State Park. I don’t understand fireworks emporiums

or rolls of curling hay. Damascus seems too regal for Tennessee:

a god of dying grass.

 

 

Tuesday Night

 

It’s 10 PM when a deaf girl orders a double espresso.

We hesitate, our hands waving – hers with motions

she knows I can’t understand, mine full of apologies.

 

I smile, scrambling for paper and a marker to write the price

and worrying, What the hell is five dollar card minimum in sign language? 

I stupidly call her drink out, words slowing into my palm.

 

Later, when we’re scrubbing grounds off the espresso machine,

Salem asks me, “Do you ever look in the mirror when you’re on the phone

and remember you’re a real person?”

 

I can’t answer; my mind is stuck on two women I just saw kissing

on the patio. Tongues rattling with foreign consonants, fingers tracing

unfamiliar ink – strangers touching in a way that says I love you, don’t leave me. I can’t

 

understand your last name.

 

 

Noon, in Bed

After Marie Howe

 

I’m eating cold pancakes with my hands:

…………….I can’t sleep with you poured

into every inch of me.

 

It’s hot. Salt slicks your upper lip.

My mug catches the light,

swallows your entire laugh.

 

I can’t stop thinking about the movie

we saw last night – he says marry me and she asks why.

He dies in a ditch in Tulsa.

 

I say, I can’t believe she didn’t love him. You, drowsy,

say: But that’s love too. I laugh as you butter

my tongue.

 

You’re allowed to be restless. I wear your sweat

like a veil. Your toes catch my heels as you turn.

 

 Eve Kenneally is a first-year poetry MFA student at the University of Montana, originally from Boston. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Wooden Teeth, Ripple, Cutbank (All Accounts and Mixture), The New Old Stock and The Sundial Review.

2 Comments

  1. pd lyons

    May 6, 2015 at 6:12 am

    a delight to read. lovely evocative work. the deep impact of brevity.

    “a god of dying grass
    I can’t understand your last name
    he dies in a ditch in Tulsa…”

    thanks for these.

  2. Michaela

    May 7, 2015 at 10:27 am

    “I laugh as you butter my tongue”

    I can feel what you felt.