you are in the diode archives diode v4n3



Requiem for the Girl with Sparrow Wings for a Heart

What was taken from her then
was a treasure heart-shaped
with a pulse slowing to stillness. 

Her grief was a scythe swung hard
by a seasoned reaper.  All the green
things mown down months ahead

of the harvest moon, all the bright
songbirds chased from her garden. 
It’s true she wallowed then,

there in the stubble and the ruin,
until she stumbled on the sparrow’s wings,
sliced thin from the blade-struck body.

She feasted on feather and brittle bone,
her new and well-protected plunder,
and she learned to love her place,

scratching through piles of leaves
and twigs outside the windows
of a home that once belonged to her. 


This is Not my Body, This Body That Refuses

If I say the cage was gilded,
is that too much to believe?

            It’s true, she kept a court
            of candied angels with her there.

Halos of honey gone to crystals,
they burned my tongue.

            She spoke with a feathery voice,
            a throat full of tacks gone tarnished.

My keeper fed me nectar
spiked with drowsing drugs.

            It’s true, she drank with the thirst
            of a deer in a drought month.

If I say the chimes were hypnotic,
is that too meek of me?

            The chimes were of silver laced
            through with venom and dew.

My body, my traitor, turned
to the sound and crumbled.

            Truly, it wasn’t her mind that faltered,
            but only her crooked spine that refused.


The Wife Who Wanders Explains Her Actions

Fear not, my love,
when I wander
from the comfort
of our warm bed.

I have only gone
to the garden’s edge
where the icy river meets
the crumbling wall.

I go there to build
a makeshift shrine
to the moon lighting
the splintered ruins.

See, I’ve taken
the peacock feather
and the glass umbrella,
your father’s weathered

fishing lures, the paper
moth, your watch.
We must protect
what we have built

from freeze and flood,
the fire yet to come.
My duty and my right,
this worry, this looking after.  


Sandy Longhorn is the author of Blood Almanac (Anhinga Press, 2006), which won the 2005 Anhinga Prize for Poetry.  New poems are forthcoming or have appeared recently in Anti-, Lake Effect, New South, Spillway, and elsewhere.  Longhorn lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, is an Arkansas Arts Council fellow, and blogs at Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.