a poetry e-zine










Poems By Cynthia Ruth Lewis

I'm not exactly sure what was going
through my mind at the time; all I knew
was my fist twisting the key in the
ignition as I sped away from you, wheels
spitting gravel and dust into the bruised
eye of dawn, not knowing where I was
going, knowing only that I was free,
with the sting of your five fingers still
fresh on my cheek finally lighting the
fire under my ass that I had pissed into
forgiveness too many times, your stale
echo now fading in my ear that nobody
would want trash like me, anyhow, but
you sure clung like lint at any hint of
my leaving, and it felt good, damned good
to press that pedal all the way to the
fucking floor and scream away from you
with the windows down and the cold winter
air blowing my hair into my eyes and barely
able to see the road, but going by feel,
knowing it was wide open and endless, with
the reliable hum of the engine to guide me
and some worn, familiar cracklings on the
old car radio to take me back to a time
when the sky was blue forever and I never
even knew your name

(Previously appeared in PoetryStet, Underground
Voices, and Nerve Cowboy.)


It's the way your trivial complaints
grate on my nerves; how our own father
never said a word, suffering silently,
even up until the morphine kicked in

Him, I never knew, folded deep inside
that world of his, but you, making sure
every whine is acknowledged, until I
could scream, you, always the center of
everything; even your suicide attempt
a stab at attention, escaping with mere
bandaged wrists and an attitude that one
should kiss the ground you walked on

Now, your fears of tumors quelled as
they wheeled you out into the reception
room, my wanting to smack the smugness
off your face that said "I knew all
along it was benign," wanting to hit you
and cry at the same time, remembering
the morning Dad passed, my knowing he
never had a chance, never once seeing
a mischievous glint in his eyes, never
happy and smiling, turning to us to say
"See kids, it was really nothing"

(Previously appeared in Underground Voices.)


Night shuts you down like a bird;
having spent your fragile wings,
they now fold gently over your breast
in exhaustion,
tiny mouth closing on your endless
barrage of words that knew no form
or meaning, yet pierced the entire
length of day

Now you sleep, curled protectively
in your own small world.
I can do nothing but watch your tiny chest
rise and fall as the tide
with the breath of your being and innocence

I cup my ear to the silence;
to your in- and exhalation
and can almost hear the pulse and hiss
of the ocean as it swells, rises,
and gently breaks upon the shore
of our simple existence

(Appeared in Canopic Jar 11/30/07.)

Cynthia Ruth Lewis is 41, hails from Chicago, and has been writing on and off for the past 20 years, only in the past few having seriously submitted her work to various online and print zines. Her poems have appeared in Underground Voices, Cerebral Catalyst, Remark, Nerve Cowboy, Red Fez, and many more.

Copyright 2008  Chantarelle's Notebook