a poetry e-zine










Amber Decker

With My Husband at the 24-Hour Supermarket That Sells Everything



An exhausted woman

wrestles with her son-- five, maybe six--

who sticks out his elfin chin and grins at her smartly,

a small black gap where a square front tooth should be, an

unwrapped candy bar clutched Indiana-Jones-style

like a golden idol in his little fist, chocolate smeared

messily across one corner of his mouth.

My husband rolls his eyes skyward,

toward some fluorescent deity

only agnostics can see or sense,

while I finger a pink blanket

like a prayer scarf and

think of my spongy red womb, how it lays

barren as a winter garden,

this uterine underworld, a gasping

blank canvas awaiting the violent red

brush strokes some small creature might make

as it slithers wetly through a world of night, unseeing,

toward the first rocky scraps of land,

webbed feet propelling it finally

into a violent circus of breath and sun.

In our shopping cart, a pair of pomegranates jostles

in the place my someday daughter

might sit, grasping

at the bright colors like birds

swooping around her, to capture

and tongue and taste the unfamiliar,

to take the world, unafraid,

piece by shuddering piece into herself,

rivers of her spittle gushing forth

like the Nile from the delta

of her perfect pink mouth,

to soak the rich, golden

field of her hair.





In the Summer I Stopped Going to Church

morning sun rises in a pink glaze
spackles the east side of St. Marks church
whose bells braid a lazy song
into the blue gown of November

at eleven I am led through doors by men
in black Sunday suits
made to sit quietly and pray
on hard benches of dark wood

up all night in secret
watching late night television shows
full of women with dangerous red lips
and slender forever legs
I have yet to sleep,

stretch my pale, skinny
arms over my head as my father pulls
his Buick to the curb and tells me
not to forget my Bible which lies
mashed into the crease of the backseat
like an old love letter grown cold,

cold and untouchable as the girls with breasts
and long hair, girls
whose dresses the boys want
to slip their hands inside

while the swans dance on City Park lake
their angel wings of white fire
striking the glassy winter sky
feathers drifting away on the wind
like tiny pillars of salt

Amber Decker's first collection of poems, Sweet Relish (Grundle Ink) was published in 2002 when she was nineteen. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including: Exquisite Corpse, Subtle Tea, decomP, Arsenic Lobster, The Rose & Thorn, Clean Sheets and others. Currently, Amber lives in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia where she masquerades as a serious college student and spends her free time learning to ride bulls and play the acoustic guitar.

Copyright 2012  Chantarelle's Notebook