LORRIE NESS


Lorrie Ness's poems will appear in The American Journal of Poetry,
Rosebud and The Big Windows Review between July and December 2019.






Ordinary Diving Bells

Above

Before it was below,
the strider skated atop the pool, purling dialects of flight

on our bowl of sky. Its filament legs knitted noon above the night,
which was erupting always on the opposite side of somewhere.

Straddling surface

like my lips. Mouthing heads and tails of sheet glass water.
Tonguing reflections so real the water tasted of bark.

The others had gone. Left

empty glasses shed by their quench. Discarded like the cicada husks
pocking our trees.

I took one up and over-

turned its hollow skin. Capped an insect blister with my highball
barge. My glass would pilot a binary world.


Below

After you were below, my rim pulled the surface six feet under.
Ferrying the strider between the trees, bisecting reflections,

skimming as he sank.

Tombstones, like glasses, are diving bells. Periscope heads,
tails pocketing air for the people below.

Pressing the hills into flat Earth.

Pushing horizons beneath the grass. Pulling the top through
the bottom. Promising burials that bore

all the way to escape.

Before you were below, I was above. Submerging cupfuls of surface.
Floating up when the strider could stand it no more.






Finding Her Face Down

The carton's straw
punctured the silver dot —
croaked a requiem
like the first atonal draw
on a student violin.
It splattered milk on my sweater
the way our carpet
caught pools of suicide.
Her withered breasts,
alreadied, unmuzzled,
lapped in the puddles
like hungry prunes
drinking on second thought.
Her finger's squeeze
blasted rapture to the ground,
like geese tumbling to our table
from the sky.
Serving plummet
on white bone plates
that buttoned the walnut seams
to stop the fall.
This meal will never quench
my thirst for milk.
It leaves me boring for breast
as I nurse the fabric clean.






The Part of You That is Mountain

Sew your ladder up
where the slope widows night.
If you climb beyond the final sky
it'll be dimmest
in the morning,
in the pupil sunrise
penlight.

The mountains speak sacrifice,
& you offer
the birth of stone from flesh.
Your giving is musical
and mineral.
Burls of petrified knuckles,
form a drum line of knots.
Cracking calcium hot,
granite fingers

wedge
in the fissure.
A purple plumb line,
chalked with shade & bruised
from years of grip.
The mountains speak of
something conjoined
& they offer to echo
your breath beats
finding the rhythm
of ascent.

Up to the blur of snowcap,
downy in the gale.
If you climb beyond the final sky.
I'll watch you smear to fuzz —
perimeter mixing
with wind.



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