"Two Poems"

"Two Poems"

"Two Poems"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 18 2003 7:13 AM

Two Poems

Listen to Michalle Gould reading these poems here and here.

I. When I Was Big

I was the dune in the Mexican desert a pilot mistook
           for a replica of the Pyramids, the wind brushing ripples
across my surface, as if I were not sand but water.
           I was the lake birthed by the intercourse of five rivers.
A forgotten king named me the palm and these rivers
           the fingers of god. An outstretched hand of water.
I was the plane brought up from the sea, bearing no evidence
           of human remains. Two days later, a fisherman pried a glass eye
from an oyster. Blue, like water. I was the Mississippi,
          when I burst my banks. The clouds mistook the roofs
of submerged houses for barges floating on the river. A pilot
          took the clouds for lily pads. The sky for water.
I was a watercolor of lilies painted by a retired fisherman
          in New Mexico. One day someone asked him, who is like god?
His only answer was water.


II. When I Was Strange

What is this place? Where are my mops, my mice,
        my sisters, those big-footed women? This bed
is too soft for my bad back. When the man
        claiming to be a prince made his entrance,
I would rather have been elsewhere. His ear,
        almost muscular in its thickness, contracted
abruptly into a cavern, resembling the knothole I saw once
        in a tree neighboring my mother's grave.
Where is your wand now that I actually need you
        to save me? What will he think of my rags,
my pumpkin, my bare and dirty legs? I have stayed
        too long in a place I never wanted to visit.
Where is that door, a window, here is that closet
        I was told never to open. Whose are these slippers!
Six pairs of discarded glass slippers, exactly like mine?
       But still wearing their bloody feet.

Michalle Gould's poetry has recently been published in North American Review, New England Review, and other journals. She is currently writing a novel and lives in Austin, Texas.