Aftermath

by S. Shademan
poets.org
Second Place, December 2008
Judged by Hélène Cardona and John Fitzgerald


Yesterday, my blue fingers
opened petal by petal.
I lost my grip on the trapeze.
My heart remained
white squeezed, buried
in the shirt drawer of a passed lover.

Today, the scent of wet leaves
pulled me out to the night’s air.
I watched a silver coin
trapped in the black net of bare branches.
A smile started like a fountain
somewhere behind my eyes, trickled
down my cheeks, spread to my lips
engulfing my face.

Death, who has been calling me
for years, from that open space
between my ribs,
whose soft whispers I hear,
whose curled fingers I see
behind my eyes
luring me in, doesn’t know

the day before I die
I will skip through the house
wearing my flannel pajamas
with my dangling gold earrings.

I will love every wrinkle:
on my father’s cheeks
on my pregnancy plans
and those on my lover’s shirt.


What makes this poem really interesting and stand out is its use of heightened language, especially the poignant last three stanzas. It reels you in with very poetic lines. It feels like a crescendo, each stanza a powerful beat, and has a very strong ending. --Hélène Cardona and John Fitzgerald

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