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Elle Wonders

Do you?

Sauveour

I cup my hand
over the starkness
of my right breast.
Like an inverse
pledge of allegiance,
I swear fidelity
to the ruined,
and try to hold
the pain
within my palm.
.
When asked,
I refuse help.
I don’t want them
to see the salt lines
of my disgrace —
the shame
of letting you
wrench the chaos
from where
I’ve kept it
hidden
for decades.
The shame
of letting you
uncork the bottle
that I’ve kept
sealed
with bits of wax
and twine.
The shame
of letting you
pour that shit
everywhere.
Dousing me
with my own
lighter fluid,
and watching,
eyes lit,
as the flames
lick my sanity.
.
When the ash
settles
you tell me
your intentions
were good.
You were only
trying to save me
from the fire.
.
.
.
©Elle Wonders 2017

Thirteen

I chase after him
on the steep hill
of the fortress,
but he deftly
slips through
my fingertips
like he slipped
through his final
year of boyhood.

I reach out,
catch the hood
of his jacket,
and laugh
with triumph
as I hug tight
my only child,
until he finally
stands with me,
side by side.

Just before
the shutter is
released,
I drape my arm
casually
around his neck,
as if I wasn’t
holding on to him
for dear life.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Tortugita

Do you remember
the day we went
swamping
in the Louisiana bayou
and I spotted
the tiny dead turtle
on the bank of the river?
We wandered down
to the shoreline,
under a canopy
of tendrilled
Spanish moss,
and I found her
lying helpless
on her back,
swaying in the cool
shallow water.
When I saw the
broken state of her
once beautiful shell,
I knew it was
a sign
of the break in me
that was to come.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

What He Brings

“Does your husband
ever bring you flowers?”
she asks while fussing
with a large bouquet
of cliché red buds.

“He brings me frogs,”
I answer, trying hard
to not sound smug.
“Each time he mows
the summer lawn,
he’ll catch me a little
tree frog. He holds it
in the palm of his hand
and we laugh as it slowly
climbs up his arm and
across his back before
leaping into the fresh cut
grass.”

Glancing at her roses,
she looks crestfallen
and whispers that her
husband never brings
her frogs.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Quiet

When I can’t

get out of bed

he brings me tea

and sits on the edge

of the mattress,

sharing with me

his quiet,

as he strokes

my hair

and looks at me

with every

good word

I’ve ever heard.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Half Finished

I know some fields that need walking —
land that will set me free.

I know some paths that need wandering —
roads that I’ve meant to see.

I know some words that need speaking —
thoughts that I wish you knew.

There’s still some life that needs living —
years I want to spend with you.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Bliss

After work
he sits
on the couch
and thinks
about bliss.
He writes
in his notebook
the things
he mustn’t forget,
then grabs the leash
and steps through
the twilight.

Bliss follows him
into the night,
matching his stride,
shoulder
to shoulder,
fingertips touching,
as a fawn
colored dog
trots up ahead,
leading the way.

He stops
when they reach
the water tower.
He puts his hand
on his chest pocket,
feels his heart move,
and knows
she’s there with him.
Where did you
come from?
he asks.
Bliss smiles
and tells him
she was born
just back there,
in the doorway.

The dark clouds
roll in
and he snaps
a photograph
of them standing
in front
of the tower
emblazoned
with her name.
Come my way,
he tells her,
and together
they walk home
catching raindrops
with their tears.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

 

Dots

She asks me
how I am
and I tell her
I’m afraid of dying –
of becoming
a dot without
memory
or consequence.
I blot my eyes
with a wet
paper towel
and she assures me
that many people
find comfort
in being a dot.
Dots can rest
and not be judged
and don’t feel
lonely.
I still don’t want
to be a dot
I tell her
and then we talk
about her trip
to Mexico
and how she went
horseback riding
on the beach
like a tourist,
which is good
because yesterday
she found a lump
and feels too tired
to contest being
a dot.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

 

Two Mile Road

 

On our way down
to little bay
we stumble upon
an unlit dirt road
as black
as a bottle of pitch.

When we see
the sleeping
farm houses
safely tucked away
in the tall fields
we stop fighting
and surrender
to the sea air
as it moves in
to claim us.

From your lap
I tilt my head back
to see Jupiter
watching
as your skin
touches mine,
and I prepare
for our ascension
into the stars.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

A Map of My Existence

 

As I laid
on the exam table,
the diagnostic
wand
slid over
the thick coating
of gel
on my neck.
As she captured
image
after image
I stared
at the patterned
ceiling tiles
as if they were
a map
of my existence,
and imagined
how it might feel
to fade away
into a darkness
and cease
to exist.

When it was over
and we were
alone
in the room,
I dried my tears
and told you
“For the first time
in my life
I finally
understand
the will to live.”

You then
drove me home
in the rain
stopping
only briefly
to pick up
a small
white paper bag
of indica.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Stay

When he said

“Stay with me”

last week,

he meant

please don’t

disappear

from his life.

When he said

“Stay with me”

last night,

he meant

please don’t

disappear

from this world.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

 

Wolde

 

When you asked me
If I would follow you,
I didn’t know
you would take me
to a place
where words
would flow
like the Mississippi
and cross
just as many
state lines.

I didn’t know
You would build
a bonfire
of nurture
and proclivity
and burn a clearing
big enough
for me
to run around in.

I didn’t know
you would
harness energy
like a plough horse
and cut
through the earth,
overturning it,
exposing the roots
of my mind.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

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