Winter 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 4


Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

Amy Nawrocki


Mirror, Mirror

She tells me what I want to hear;
puckering into the glass, I primp,
outlining thin lips with red dye,
shading eyes and rouging cheeks.
Pretty, she says with coy shine.

The heat from my toy gun dryer
burns already frail follicles as I smooth
sometimes blonde hair into waves.
No gray, she whispers, imitating.
She doesn't blink when frizz spews,
doesn't snicker when I flick tartar
from minty floss into her silver eyes.

When I shimmy brick hips to zip
a long pleated skirt, she says oooh.
Ignoring grooved stretch marks
when draped beneath a pink towel,
she favors shoulder muscles, and like
a true friend, reminds me "too much
bundt cake" with a wink as I close
the noncompliant bathroom door.


The Lamp

The lamp descended from a wine bottle,
a gallon purchased for less than ten dollars,
at the package store; Chablis, no doubt,
watery, harsh, and tart if I were to taste it
today. But that was the kind my father
habitually chose, ever the bargain hunter.

He deftly rigged the old bottle
with the necessary fixtures: the socket,
the bulb harp, the cord: the years he spent
at Bell booked into his brain and hands.
In the smooth glass, my mother
drizzled sand into the base, as if painting
with soft pastel grains, precisely layering
yellow on top of green. A creamy white,
the most sand-like, sloped between blue
and then the layers repeated, mixed,
and modified with purples, pinks, and reds.

I like to think they chose the shade together,
selected the paneled glass design to match
the lamp's sandy origin rather than
the colors that swirled inside.
I spotted their choice years later
in my brother's apartment, still fastened
to the jug; the granules were no longer tidy
but muddled, shaken into confetti, the pattern
of their work left intact, but the perfection
remaining only in our imaginations.


History of a Table

The bar where Henry Miller drank
tenders a thin table beneath a mirrored wall
scoping author's portraits and patrons who filter
into booths and pout with espresso mouths.
I am only apprenticing Paris. We've scrapbooked
ourselves here to dip into the ink of artists like us
who came to loot and ransack the city, to hunt
amid gray, cobbled streets, take the surly and brooding
pelt of phenomenon and deposit a littered alphabet
of new and debaucherous talismans. My pen
trembles, and I ache to write myself into a version
of original sin, revel in the profanity of life,
and spit into my inkwell. Beneath Hemingway
my new husband scribbles in his moleskin.
I fix my eyes toward the ring on his hand.

By the time my cocktail abandons me
I have taken custody of the deserted chronicles
left long ago on tap handles and between floorboards.
My husband closes his book; we leave on the table
a handprint of coins and a pocket of space.
The apprenticeship ends with the looted winter air
sweeping us into the amulet of an unwritten book.


© Amy Nawrocki



Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

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