Wende Crow

Wende Crow’s poems and stories have appeared inPloughshares, LIT, New Haven Review, The Inquisitive Eater, and other journals.

Winter Galaxies

The fence is molded along the cross beams. The owl is saying who. The sun has just turned from half-circle to round. Amazing how slow that seems and then how fast it actually happens. I’ll just stare out at all that for a minute.

Someone to tell—look how beautiful. Where? Someone is where? Face the truth. All of this ends but doesn’t.

Rest. Near and far, both. Bones. Bright and warm birds.

*

Despair and doubt again. Came, went, in waves, waved back. Another change. Write, fool. Do everything you can on this fool earth.

Hair in the sink. Sore and thirsty. Pain over and over nothing. Disconnected thoughts. Beautiful women at the bar last night, turned sour. Cold now, can’t sleep through morning.

Blue glass birds on the window sill. Sun through the glass. Glowing birds I lie here watching birds glow.

*

Woke too early again, a sense of not doing enough. But I hear my owl. And he is doing enough. His owl duties. Hooting and eating mice and whatnot. Will I feel better? He doesn’t know. He just hoots and eats.

I can see the sun rise from my patio.

The trash bag is still caught and swinging from the tree. A fixture, a feature of the tree. I once thought it was a large creature. Amazed, tried to descry the type of beast. Until the creature was still there two days later. Is it dead?

*

Sitting here like I’m going somewhere. Magazine damp and wrinkled out there on the patio table. Where it is too cold. The cold magazine not loved and not read.

Barefoot on a fake bicycle. Full of lies. Life. Like I’m going somewhere on this fake bicycle but there’s nowhere to go.

*

I am not the only one just the only one here.

*

Like I know what to do. Looking at me like I know what to do. These women. These old women from war-torn or starving countries sitting in front of foreign machines blinking foreign words at them. It is my job to tell them what to do. One day I will say, I never did know what to do. You were lied to. I lied.

A blood red dark sunrise this morning. I cannot face myself like this. Already there is too much light.

I do not want to give up this sunrise. But I do.

*

Oh no, I say in the middle of things. Oh no.

*

Can I just listen to the rain and the roar of the jet engine? Look at the moon clipped and curved, just so? All these morning birds.

Those trees. Sprays of pink and red blossoms in their spindly branches. Winter flowering cherries in the middle of all this gray.

Do come in. I’ve missed you, someone. I can change I can.

*

Oh. Last night drove and got lost all over. That is anonymity is comfort. Finally asked directions three times. I went somewhere and left without saying hello or goodbye but I went somewhere.

*

I want to say, I lost my voice. But speaking would give me away. I want to say, I broke my arm, my foot, my head. I broke my head. Rather than say the truth that I am a brittle fraud. I lost my voice so I can’t do the thing you are looking at me expecting me to do. I broke my head.

*

Soft rain, and a shhhh sound in the trees. Soothing to wake up to. Lying in bed, rubbing my feet together, refusing to wake up don’t wake up. I am not soothed. No forever in bed with the patter and the shh.

No glow in the birds.

Forever getting up just to lie back down again.

*

I’m wrong now, all wrong. It’s clear: I was wrong before. When I thought I was right. I was always wrong. Foolish, going around like that. To be anything other than this. Wrong woman.

You have mistaken me for someone else. I have mistaken me for someone else.

*

The old man is clapping for his dog to come. That feeling is here. Live with it.

*

Rain. Blue jar. Anxious. Owed. Ownership. Steps. Sleep. Night. Television. Horror beyond. Love. Escape.

*

I’ve decided that this is just how my life will be for now. Then it will pass. Then it will be another way.

*

Inside this dark hole for a while.

*

Then there was this dream. A woman, older, who loved me and my work and guided me. There were three love poems. Yes, she said. This is bigger than you.

*

This both is and is not. Real and not real. And I am needed in small ways for small things. This cake. I ought to bake this cake that I promised for this thing I promised to go to. But I could sleep. I could read and find peace. It is in that smoke rising from the chimney. How beautiful.

*

The truth is death. I could lie, but the truth is death.

*

Very cold. Today could be the day. Your day. The television says so but the television says lots of things. To make you want them all of them more of them. To make you sit there and listen.

Need to be here, mercifully here. Steam and smoke rising three times, up up up. Read but don’t really read. Dry read. Cold read. Words don’t make sense.

Keep it moving, wheels.

*

The Hispanic man is carrying laundry to his truck. What is this for?

*

The pills. The ones I don’t take anymore. The pills are in the bottle in the closet. Just there. At least the pills are in the bottle all the time in the closet. All the time at any time six or seven steps and a turn of a knob of a bottle rattle cap.

I can hear it from here.

*

I can’t make up my mind to do, not to do.

Can’t see straight.

Just do something.

*

One day, finally, death. No more days. No more this.

*

Dear sir, but maybe I’m crazy. I’m going back. Backward. Walking backward. In time. To undo.

*

If I was wrong I was wrong.

Going backward and forward. Warbler. Newsletter. Three things before bed. Think this is crazy? It is.

“Drinking coffee cups full of snow. The hot snow tastes nice. People sit around drinking snow from plastic cups.

There is no one to call.

The poor, the cold, the lonely, and the homosexual.”  North Korean propaganda film about American misery sounds a lot like me.

*

Rain and thunder this morning.

*

Palm Sunday yesterday. I went to Epiphany, wishing, badly, baldly, before the eyes of my God, for death. Then the rain came. Changed everything and nothing. Made sense of nothing. I am still in this place. And now the wind. The fear. These are ineradicable.

We all must.

*

Insane with grief. What have I lost? I can’t remember. I can’t remember what it’s like not to be lost.

*

There and back again over and over your whole life, oh boy.

Dreamt about Tennessee people last night. Tennessee people in a restaurant eating. We all eat and eat and eat. I leave. They keep eating. Where’s the poetry? I asked the hostess. She said, they are still eating.

*

There you have it one and it’s settled two and I’m going backward three. I’m going to be okay four. It only hurts for now five. The sun six. I talked to people seven. Let them have power eight. Am a real person nine. With a real past present future ten. Doing automatically everything eleven.

*

Another dream. I ran on gravel because gravel was safer with fewer snakes. The grass was deadly. We didn’t care about money. Finally. But we were not free. I went naked to a banquet. Where I did not eat.

*

Someone has defeated me. That would be me. She curls her fingers around the sky and dreams. She’s in another place and others are there.

It’s not me. I’m not here.

*

Years before I have to talk. Don’t want to be alone. Want to. Why do they have to need me.

*

The door is closed the door is there the door stays closed all the time.

*

Over there
wisteria hanging
swinging
across the galaxy

*

Good things actually happened yesterday. But I didn’t carry them. Still, they happened. I walked. Once home, I was the same. Dear everyone, we all fall.

But I’ve gotten up now. Made bread. Made things. Creations. Taken care of others. Things happening for reasons. Needs arise for me to fulfill. And see these marks on this page. There now.

It is Easter.

*

Well again, same thing. A lovely service. Then a sense of purpose. Applications and histories and books. Only until evening. Evenings are hardest. The thoughts: I should tear all these pages out. I am willfully regressing. Living in unsustainable silence. Lying.

And a sole truck with one headlight breaks the unsustainable silence.

*

Some kind of yellow bell flower
a shell in the shape of a bird foot
more coffee than usual
a poor hasty choice
pink sky sunrise starts
and a sole truck with one headlight
breaks the unsustainable silence
the lamp goes out
closer and closer
lights go out for real light

I tell myself more than anyone else. But that’s still not the whole truth.

*

We’re all thinking about the wrong things aren’t we. A man shot a lot of people in a movie theater. Might get the death penalty.

Big bang. Now little bang little bang little bang.

The same things again and again. Yes, today.

*

All these old women are learning phonics from insulting songs coming out of their machines but I don’t know what else to do for them. The man in the machine dances and says Ed the elephant likes red eggs eh eh. The short E makes its very own sound eh eh.

*

All day nothing to do and not dreaming this. I could this or that, not games. Real this or that.

*

Yesterday went to sleep. Slept too much. Made coffee, made a sandwich. Took a shower. Small things. Fearful things. Misused words.

Went to sleep. Wanted to change, did not.

*

The door stayed closed stays closed stay.

*

I love you, words. Words I love you. The word. One word.

Please remember this. Even though I can’t.

*

I went somewhere. I did. Wept and said, I don’t want Him to see me like this.

*

I wish I could say. Oh but at least. There’s always turning back.

*

My body is twisted. Twisted body, twisted soul.

*

Why am I in here every day? What’s to say? There now, that’s no way to start. Up. Down. Round.

It’s because of yesterday—I don’t want to talk about yesterday.

*

The silent E does not eh. Shhh. Whirrrr. Machine sings and works and says whirr while the man sings out of it.

Still don’t know what to do with these old women but they’re stuck with me and the silent E.

*

Hello there. Hello on the boat. Hello ashore. I should say hello ashore because I’m the one on the boat.

Went to bed late and couldn’t sleep anyway because spinning and spinning but stayed there. Blinking in the dark. Wrecked and wicked.

I dreamt of church and mismatched shoes and coffee shops. Being found by my mother on the floor in a tangle of clothes and bed sheets I could not get out of. She looked at me for a long long time. It was a dream about not taking care of things and people. Which is what I do. Just not today for the last two months.

*

This and that done. Woke up with chest pain. Oh God what have I done what do I do.

*

Green yellow air. Red bird, cardinal, brown bark. They sing and say wake up. The air and the bird. Get up.

*

Central dogwood in the yard. Cold metal chair. Greening of spring. White petals on a black roof. Am I a real person? Am I really this person? Was that my winter? I don’t know if I’ll ever remember.

*

I don’t want to keep this to read this remember this remember what it’s like to be so sick.

What’s in the picture?
Oh just some galaxies.
Nebulae. Black holes.
The picture on the shelf.

When nothing feels right or good you might as well work. Look at pictures of galaxies. At least something gets done and looked at. At least something else to think about.

At least winter was here then winter is there and all the time the galaxies are on the shelf. It doesn’t matter where winter went. Galaxies are still on the shelf.

Dogwoods and cherry trees and eastern redbuds and saucer magnolias are all in bloom. Even in that hole I saw, I thought, there is color.

What’s in the picture?

There is color.