crystal stone

Crystal Stone.

These are submissions from the Voices desk.

Before the News

By Crystal Stone, cbstone@iastate.edu

We think we’ve seen it all: the stars

dying in the butterfly nebula, the milky

stains on the child’s lip when she washes

the cookie down, the strange sea cucumber

on a National Geographic feature. The lady

bugs in the corner of the room don’t bite

us in our sleep. One day, we discover the stars

aren’t all that’s dying. The cookies aren’t

the only secrets in the child’s mouth. In anger,

we throw words and miss the poems.

Our pictures forget the sun. Just because

we have fingertips. We don’t always touch.

 

Surrender

By Crystal Stone, cbstone@iastate.edu

after Linda Gregg

Every day starts and ends the same

except when it doesn’t: today,

few cars or people pass. No need:

this bridge leads almost nowhere.

Cornfields stretch for miles

beyond. I watch night drop

behind the trees: an old habit.

Light divides being from absence.

Mayflies rise like church-goers

to the sounds of cricket choirs.

I am unfaithful. I remember

how people said God’s harmless

when he’s answering prayers.

But I’ve never seen good come

from anybody knowing everything.

Streetlights are waking and they

hold back the moon brass with rust.

Let the water below run black. Let web.

Let the spider. Let land. Let light.

Let trees stretch out. Let be. Let sing.

Autumn in Mississippi

By Crystal Stone, cbstone@iastate.edu

Outside, the crepe myrtles are black

with mold. The eyes of the floating log

stare apathetically: I don’t care enough

to hurt you, they say and close. Above,

the clouds island together volcanic.

I talk to myself or god: am I still a child?

I storm and the clouds threaten to wash

away the summer feel of heat. Inside,

I’m asked to clean up the bodies

of the roaches I smeared on the counter.

I don’t. A man on the radio says the plants

have more leaves than their roots can hold.

They are bending over, dying. I look outside

again. The cypress trees are tall with kudzu capes.

They are not superheroes, but ghosts.

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