Wanda Waldera © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Epiphytes


As clouds scuttle across the hardwood floor,
I contemplate exits by fire and flood,
having risen too high to jump without breaking.

*
How will I find the friend within the enemy within?
I lose my way, look askance, admit my terror
of the fête d’adieu. Dazzle and repeat.

*
My father bequeathed me his golden chopsticks.
What more could I need? Overwhelm fixes me in bed,
bereft of the memory of my exit strategy.

*
If you don’t believe in the afterlife, what do you
attune to, my enemy, my friend? Turned over,
the leaf of despair can resurrect a life.

*
Rinse and repeat. I’ll tell you what drives me
through the looking glass. Neotropical,
the epiphyte absorbs what it needs through air.

*
Don’t wait for me to emerge from the bark
of the Sequoia. I admit I’ve slept with the enemy
every night of my life. See what love comes to?

*
Seriously, I’m more afraid of shame
than of the afterlife. In my next life, love reciprocates.
Repeat the tender part, the lick and caress.

*
I expect nothing in return for feeding the birds,
but I want you to take seriously my next exit.
Take it from either side of the leaf.





Carol Westberg
Copyright © 2014  

Carol Westberg’s collection Slipstream, was a finalist for the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry, and “Map of Uncertain Soundings” was a finalist for the Ruth Stone Prize. She has published poems in Prairie Schooner, Hunger Mountain, North American Review, CALYX, and other journals.


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