WALLACE-RUBY MORALES


Wallace-Ruby Morales's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rougarou and
The Griffin (where "Pressure Drops" and "Sitting on the Bank" have previously
appeared). She lives a spirited life in a very remote part of Alaska, where
identifying the type of bear approaching determines whether you make yourself
appear large or play dead; it takes traveling over 300 miles just to get to the
nearest fast-food restaurant. In her free time, she enjoys singing, snow shoeing,
learning how to cross-country ski, and teaching her Pomeranians, Makana and
Kismet, to skijor.






For Maizee

Morning
Maizee muttered daisy lazy chains
Shoo-flied blue-bottle motes and dust webs away
She fingering trickled washed in
The attic of her days

Night strikes Maizee
Jay-naked fey, gambols light akimbo
Beams and rays, her odd-angle fresco halo
Encrusted by the salt of her spray
Wrapped within albatross delight
(Each of us wears)
Flat-footed galumphing and catching the air
Days over ocean flat calm clear blue prayer
The bright of her dances, glances back white
Up, over, under, rising, in grasp of her rapture, but her keener eyes

Bulging blue-blacks in uniform taut and tight
So many to seize her
The glow in the doorway drowned in the bare switch light
Orderlies watched over
Her, the nurse said, "Maizee! Good night!"






Pressure Drops

The North Slope wind freezes fast and curls low
Widens the weak, loose places
Tears at the tarps
Flings the sharp, fallen leaves bunched within rugged corners
Finds the crack in the collar
You cross your arms, crumple, and take short, necessary breaths
A tight, thin line


But today, the Cordova wind billows across the Sound!

Flush waves of warmth swell and fall away
A whisper, then a rustle, then a roar
Gray clouds scud across the sky turning the lamp of the sun

Fill my mouth wide with the promise that presses lightly along my skin
Gulp in each breath and crunch down with my teeth
juice runs down my throat
soaks my chapped lips
claims me






Sitting on the Bank

There once was a banker a pretty little she banker
Who ran totals and sums on any given day
And sums and totals, to be sure, for she would cross-refer
Any errors to be cured, all the dum ditty sum day

In her head, her head, her pretty little head
She had dreams of dreams of when she had means
When the tick tock time clock broke its inner thread
And adding it all up finally gave way to play
So she totaled and she summed
Other people’s funds waiting for her rainy day

But the days, the day, any given day, begun with the sun
Pulling farther, farther, farther away
The banker from her dreams of her dreams,
With their knots and their weaves, no matter how finespun,
Could not sum what they were not on any given day

And in her head, her head, her pretty little head all began to go gray
And upon her reflection, she remarked that she must leave or stay
That very dum ditty sum day
In her head, her head, her pretty little head circling the sun
And fulfill her promise of dreams undone

But her dreams of dreams were really only schemes
She had no means to make a promise burst its seams
For the one thing in her life had become true
She was a banker, a banker, a pretty little banker
And sitting on the bank was all she knew how to do






Stormbound, for Harryette

Lightning strikes
She wakes in the womb
Afraid again
Her father standing in the doorway
Struck by a lightning ball
And killed
Thrown from Nebraska
Plain, bleak, and wide
An empty mouth
Under the blank, dark sky

This her mother sang to her
In the cradle
Her father's headstone

Now, through more than seventy years
Freak storm pounds
In the Oregon woods, a tree explodes in fire
When pitch ignites
Inside

She curls up in bed
Rocks as she sings
The lullaby her mother
Wrapped her within



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