The DMQ Review

Gary Palmer © 2003


Their hiss and crackle prick your heart.
You let them wither.
Some twist into galls
that hum with insect voices.
Each night, more drop from your arms.
You let them fall through gray fingers,
too many to count.

Emerging, they once pierced your skin,
cold points a part of you.
Now you've grown a cloak of bark.
You've almost forgotten
the green ache of unfurling.
Ribs exposed,
they arch their brittle spines
and spin away from your body.

You watch them spiral,
no longer crimson or orange,
but scabbed wings, unhinged.
You let them go.
You're a maple turned inward
to hoard your coursing sweetness.
Your limbs grow light, near empty.

Christine Boyka Kluge
Copyright © 2003

Christine Boyka Kluge's first book, Teaching Bones to Fly (Bitter Oleander Press), is coming out in Spring 2003. She received the 1999 Frances Locke Poetry Award from The Bitter Oleander, where she was the featured author in the Fall 2001 issue. Her work appears or is forthcoming in No Boundaries, Prose Poems by 24 American Poets (due 2003 from Tupelo Press, edited by Ray Gonzalez), Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Miniscule Fiction (due 2003 from Mammoth Books, edited by Dinty W. Moore), Arts & Letters, Fine Madness, Kestrel, Luna, Natural Bridge, Petroglyph, Quarter After Eight, Quarterly West, Rattapallax, Tar River Poetry, and others.

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