Issue IV, Volume V : December 2013
Sharon Fagan McDermott received the 2001 Pittsburgh Foundation’s artist award and a 2002 PA Council on the Arts award and is the author of two chapbooks : Voluptuous and Alley Scatting, (Parallel Press, U of Wisconsin-Madison P, 2005). Her recent poetry manuscript, Bitter Acoustic, recently won the Jacar Press Chapbook award, judged by poet Betty Adcock, and will be forthcoming in the summer of 2011. She is currently a writing instructor at Montclair State University. She was a Visiting Lecturer of creative writing for seven years at the University of Pittsburgh, where she won the 2005 Bellet Excellence in Teaching in the Arts and Sciences award.
these cold tongues fill with borrowed light
caught in the thaw and freeze
of February. What they say to any passerby
on this stark night is lost
in a petrified spiral of delft blue.
I call the dog to my side,
turn off the backlight.
icicles and ivy: two seasons bisect
and form an intersection where spirits
jostle one another, long to speak. The mind strains
to make meaning from this row of frozen seepage.
If I plucked these stalactites on the body
of this stucco wall, I’d play a memory
of splintering glass. A keening. A kettle’s shrill.
A song of the odd dream,
where no one is recognizable, even myself.
Ice pizzicato. Quills tipped in snow.
I’ve got unpaid bills, can’t-pay-bills
piled on the dining room table. And this obsession
with the slip of melting water.
Such quaint staccato: olive oil spits
in a frying pan. Minced garlic softens.
Spinach chopped on bamboo.
Out my window, the long beard
of icicle catches the snow, glitters.
Stubborn vise! Who can teach me how
to let go? I open my back door
and in your glaciated sea I spin a bigger life.
Helical ridge of such transience.
One rock. That’s all.
One rock aimed well.
Under streetlight, a flute
of bottomless shadow.
I have fewer and fewer answers.
Put the tea bag in my mug,
the kettle on the stove. Set the flame on high.
Such clutch. Such legs. Such broken combs.
I said I didn’t want an ordinary life.