Everything was fine until one stray hour
cracked the afternoon open and the day
began to eat its own tail. I met the one-suit
duo with a river view. They'd worked up a skit
for me: good cop, bad apple; i.e., find another
tree. I had no stone, no flame, no black magic
marker to stake my inviolate claim. What seeped
through the fissure was a plague of lists to be addressed:
weed, shine, lie, propagate. Lists bubble up in
dreams and cluster around my head in waking:
stick, graft, pluck, mother. Catch up. Pollen dusts
the dark water. Leaves rust like abandoned shovels.
Something is digging in perpetuity: for grubs, nuts,
blood, shelter. The lilies have been strangled,
the geraniums beheaded; the synchronous
bugs are munching everything I've worked for.
- Barbara Edelman
Barbara Edelman lives in Forest Hills and teaches writing and literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Her chapbook of poems Exposure is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in July. Her poems and prose have appeared in Prarie Schooner, 5 AM, Rattle, Arts & Letters and other journals. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.