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Three Poems


Lisa Cooper

RÍO MAGDALENA


the ragged neck
        ragged rest, restless sleep of the shoulder
        fitful rest of preparation
sunflowers sing a song of trees & moonlight—
        you blink—
        you’ve already forgotten—
there are trees in your body: branches & trunks
        limbs & flowerings

could I just send this problem down to my hip
        & work it out
        could I just refer this to another
        department
the goldfinch pair, coppery dragonfly, purple moth
        fiery chiltepín

she said she’d help me breathe & I felt
        the desolation of a howling prairie
she said to walk & I felt
        the clamps again at the top of the leg
she said, she said, bear down now, shaky shaky—
        compress—
        breathe from the little hearts of your hands
    &     learn to walk in the breath, unknotting
or walking in knots if knots you must have chosen

latching the issue, the gate, unblocking

this is a new life starting out with old troubles
the way you doubled over when the friend betrayed you
for me it was never about that agonizing story, but more
        about the birds in the oaks
        as the light turns down
        &you can just sit there
        no longer needing
        to be carried



SEED

playing with other agendas—
like loving everyone, like composure, embracing conflict
like 2 busy boys under the moon & rain
answering the call

I’ve been very fortunate
with my head down & my arms lifted
driving into the goal only one move in a long series
about television, about sketching, about the internal

what if you could see better, like when you started
but with what you know now…

hurry! if you are bored, this could be the next
continent already

I’m not much into negotiation these days
even the low profile is a bit more than I wanted

better after the kitchen turns marigold
        better after the war
better in another flavor
better the way he looks at you & says that choice you made
so long ago
dressing like a boy
was cool



VIEWMASTER

hence—
only this: every minute is full, happy, but needing to cry or sleep or eat chocolate
the lives of baby birds, climbing up their parents’ backs or swallowing a fish whole,
headfirst, aim & shoot

incommunicado—
but back to the crying & chocolate: is this a woman thing? & when do I stop being a woman? no not really
that but as a different kind of woman, no longer reeling them in etc.?

mano a mano—
yay! I made it through before the arrow changed: arc & bow, call me & tell me
I am a winner now

stuntman—
from suntan lotion to freeze warning in 2 short days of gutters, punctuation, dirt clods, trash bins, roadwork,
Borderlands with a capital B

candid—
& why yes I did—   did not!—   did so!—   that was no reply to my nice message
no invitation ending in an exotic cove

seeing sideways—
we have 3 sisters: corns, beans, squash—
& 3 types of vines: annual, evergreen, deciduous
& umpteen rug designs (even a NASA scientist should keep up with weaving)
but what are the 3 Marys?

stampede—
every dog should stay fenced
& geez what was that news about your brain changing if you get a new heart
or even if you just get some new blood, you start watching sports & singing

glimpsed—
even new blood can change how you think, like running with a cigaret in your mouth, the new adult or at least adult
research

floss—
I wasn’t comfortable with the way he took the wood
even this nonplus is a kind of material, pistolero, stuff that for the most part is very interesting

gaffer—
take the upbeat, a force of nature, clear away old hurts, marching papers,
the folks behind the microphone … rushing toward the feeling of spring