So we did this thing.
Buried the monkey
under the decaying floorboards
of the old woman’s house.
Then we waited.
We always waited. Hungry
ghosts in children’s bodies.
'Pranks’, they called our deeds.
We stayed in the shadows
merged with our hollowness.
On the prowl.
When the old woman hobbled
out of her hut we held
what goes for hands
and advanced, left the children
under the dark pine trees
at the edge of the field.
For a moment
she thought she saw us.
Came down on her swiftly.Didn’t leave any marks.
In slow-moving waters swamp woman makes her home.
Swamp children are born in the flower of water lilies,
rocked to sleep by the toads on giant lily-pads,
dragon-fly formations their entertainment
and taught by the bespectacled caiman.
There’s no land like wetland.
When swamp woman passes
she exudes the odor of mold and rotting wood,
there is a greenish tint to her skin
which is too large for her body.
She lives in splashes of recognition
and the word ‘drainage’ for her means death–
which is ninety percent certain.
She had asked for a Court Order
The ice was singing under her wheels
and deep inside her bones. She had chosen
to drive North.
The winter tyres bit into the thin layer of snow
which barely covered the glare, blinding
her wherever the wind had swept the white dust
from gelid roads which had been a dull grey
the night before. The thermostat said three below zero,
the radiator barely getting the inside
of the Subaru above that. She’d left her gloves
at the last motel. She vaguely wondered why
her fingers were blue.
She couldn’t stop herself
from moving at speed. No other cars were out
on this arctic, bright Sunday morning.
A murder of black rose into that white on white
as she passed, startling her. She stepped on the breaks,
leaning back, stiffening her arms. Low branches
unloaded their winter weight. She could hear scratches
on metal. It occurred to her that he’d be furious again,
and that she wasn’t ready for another beating.
When the car sunk slowly into the lake
the world became dark, and she thought with a smile
that she may have forgotten to turn off the stove.
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection published in 2011 in the UK, ‘TANGENTS’, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), and has been a finalist in several GR contests, winning it in October 2014.
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