poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Tornado Cuts A Smile Through The Night

Everything yesterday grew is stem-snapped today,
flowers are floating in the flooded streets
each a dead eye. Don't trust
anything this thick atmosphere whips up. Wind comes in the night,
with speed that breaks my sleep. Here's the game:
when the tornado siren goes off, take a shot
whiskey is best, but anything you've got around the house will do.
Rock me to sleep in the closet, Wind,
the whiskey makes it easy but you make it fun.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


This bench makes me a child
as my feet don't touch the ground, dangle; the white smell of sunscreen
makes me a child with a piece of hard candy in my mouth
neither sucking nor biting/ letting it melt
the way old stories melt and pour
into each other/ wine through the mouth
and the hard candy of memory melts
turns my jagged dog teeth blue.

Bells and bells and bells
the sound is silver hungry
the sound is sacred.

God is always hungry.
An empty belly burning towards doing something foolish.
My heart is green
a hummingbird's tender shake
just a quiver of a body, looking at you
I can see your hummingbird heart, same as mine.

As we get older, the green loses her luster.
Older, she is the wax green of a crayon, then
the sharp green tip of a colored pencil
then an old green leaf and then ash, nothing, not even a memory anymore.

Mushrooms come in a rush of rain
until the yellow-blue sky wakes you
and you start to build your heart again, grain by grain
with the green of grass and the buzz of wings,
the heart-bud gathers electricity to itself.

robin heart and my heart
(bouncing in the grass)
horse heart and my heart
(with pounding hooves)

and your heart and your heart and yours.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oh Home

See how they dig down now, years later, what's left?
An empty grave/ old lace curtains/purple flowers
a little boy eating apples until he gets sick.
I've been here before.

Of course I can't remember the words.
I'm stuck with the tune only, as time makes lace-holes in my memories
of the shore. There's no one here, just stacks upon stacks of silent crimes.
Ocean keeps making sculpture from everything,

keeps drawing the same thing in the sand.
Oh ocean, how you give yourself away
someone's bound to notice the pattern.
(Are you sure you want to do this?)

When they finally see the design, then you will speak through it,
your wet mouth will know a hundred different ways to say home, tell them that,
tell them I went home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Her Hands

Lonely hearts behind high-buttoned vests
Turkey-Trotting in pouf pants with deep pockets for bidding on bachelors.
Red snowflakes on yellow wallpaper, curtains covered in dogs
followed by men, mounted for the chase.

Flowers wearing hats and thinking of love.
He dances alone in the silence of the night.
Love pinned to the brim.
She dances alone, singing to her hands.

Soda fountain. Ivory soap. You say that to all the girls.
Smell of liniment and triangular flags. The girls all twinkle back.
Paper flags strung up, dance in lines, when there is wind, and when there is no wind
the flags settle back into their geometry.

Paint the house light blue and white, then see what happens inside.
She is my sister in sickness, Ma, go to her
push her in wheelchairs on weekends. No one knows germs properly
yet. Ma suspects there's something small at work here. Little animals plotting
inch by inch invasions. That's what sickness is: invasion

through all the space left by lace. Negative spaces.
Sickness grows in the lacks. Sickness in the dips of ribbons.
The difference between people and paper
is that people can dance when there is no wind.