Beautiful Fur Coats
The door is closed to the oldest friends I have known
And learned to love through absence
Women with beautiful fur coats surround me
I cannot link arms, must bear cheek kisses
After events where small talk is paramount
Alone with no love and no grief for parents
Who rearranged my bold silk flowers, gave me change
As they traveled through rivulets of alcohol while
I saw life through the windows of cars men drive
In the end, I do not wish to speak to my oldest friends
And tell them what they meant to me, there are embossed
Cards for that and the only real dreams appear when
I close my eyes, try it and you will see
(Previously published in Mudfish.)
I knew what I was.
Not a spider stringing
Hieroglyphics in threads perspired by dew.
Not a thin woman, hands folded
Like a bird one upon the other.
Heaviness growing, my body was entombed.
Still, I hear grackles rasp through gauze clouds
At a speed my small hands can stop.
In shawl-chill rooms I write letters of awkward kindness
To loved ones I will never meet.
One day, a slim sheathe, would I forgive
And walk into the arms of men who once stung me
With their crude alphabet, and say farewell
To the woman who knew the constancy of birds?
(Previously published in Northern Stars.)
After a night of lovemaking
I pretended to remain asleep
Butterflies flew out of my stomach
They were all over the room
Imagining my ecstasy
Fanning air into my fever
He flicked the ash of his cigarette
Stared at the ceiling fan
Other dawns of stern repose
He dressed solemnly
As if for a funeral
Then the doorknob-- a slow click
I once won fifth prize
For a watercolor of a bride
Tangled in her veil
I wonder what number I am now
As butterflies press into the wall
(Previously published in Common Ground Review.)
Of Micmac Indian descent, Judith Ann Levison was raised in a
logger’s family on coastal Maine. Judith holds degrees from
Mount Holyoke College (BA), Hollins University (MFA) and Drexel
University (MS). Upon moving to Pennsylvania, Judith was chosen
as Bucks County’s first woman Poet Laureate. Judith’s poems have
appeared in Agni, California Quarterly, Evansville Review,
Hollins Critic, New Millennium Review, The New Yorker, Portland
Review, Mudfish, Cold Mountain Review, Painted Bride Quarterly,
Caveat Lector, Studio One, and more. She has published two
chapbooks: Oak Leaves and Sand Cradle.