Because Now There Are School Shootings
This morning hollowed holy
draped white by last night's storm—
sheers dim with little light.
not quite seven yet.
In this alpine bowl
the pond looks forgotten,
canticle of crumb-sharks
still circle after dreaming.
They must exist,
immune from ice,
singing ridge line songs
through several sets of teeth.
They must wear a bear tooth
on their necks,
a dominance amulet,
and unexpected predators
to most but me.
Yesterday the girl
said there was a lockdown
drill at school.
Poorly planned said she,
several of us would be dead.
This is a child we urge
to be more aggressive.
Her courtly manners
do not serve under the two point net.
She holds the table at lunch
while the others queue for powdered sugar
crepes. For her, time only for savory
not one bite of sweet.
Think of your mother, I cry,
I couldn't live without you.
Squeeze into a hiding place,
share it, like sardines.
Oh toothsome girl, who lost a molar
within minutes of a fallen bicuspid
just last Sunday. Sing a song of survival,
sing of full press. I should’ve said
stitch yourself in winter's threads,
steal away from bullets
sprung from nowhere
and everywhere at once.
Be the distant spring,
invisible blades and ox-eye
daisies. Be still
like that deep black water.
Even if doesn’t seem real,
hide darling girl,
every blonde hair,
every aquamarine chipped nail.
The Dream Where I Read Your Face in Placerville
You look at me and I wonder,
is that one more river you want
me to cross,
a wade through it dare?
You must want me cold and searching
or is that an invitation to meet you,
carve our names in the aspen’s ashy canvas
near the spot where I X'ed us out,
where the bear paw seconded it,
signed it in bitter root claw,
where wind and rain sealed it
in crust and black- we’re done.
I can't tell you what is written
in our sage smoked canyons
or how the echo follows us
in our daily hollows;
tunnels of corrugated flume,
culverts full of spit-out raven bone,
nests of fox fur,
and bits of chalk cliff den.
I can’t tell you when flash floods
will wipe the smile off dead man’s curve.
So stand there while I scowl,
while I dig my fingers in this rock façade.
I'll climb before I cross
by God, and it’s the waking voice
I hear in my own auricle just now.
Every curse I ever knew spawned from the mouth
Of my Grandmother. . .and you mute, the perfect foil.
Stop-up the empty place or tunnel through?
Temper tastes like remorse, you say with a smirk.
It’s sweet as freshwater trout on your honey fly.
You know you can’t ask me anything.
Your face has too many tiny shifts,
it’s leather bound, eyes like the alphabet
Oh! Illiterate me.
A little more about Kierstin Bridger...
Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer. Her poems have appeared in Prime Number, Memoir, Thrush Poetry Journal, The Best of Spilt Infinitive Anthology, Pilgrimage, and others.
Bridger is co-curator for the Open Bard Poetry Series, "Editor-in Sheaf" of Ridgway Alley Poems, and a contributing writer at Telluride Inside and Out. She will earn her MFA from Pacific University in June 2014.
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