Two Poems

Before Goldilocks’ Nap

I stepped into the closet
Lifting my face up in the still waterfall of fabric
Misting it in the scent of cologne, fur, wool
And for one moment felt safe
Like the time as a girl I dropped my mother’s hand
Slipping into the racks at JC Penny, just right
It ran from my toes through the filament of each curl
Hooking them like cables to the coats’ polyester hulls
Sometimes I find it in cupboards,
Running my fingers along neatly organized spice racks,
Stacked canisters of loose leaf tea
Those sentinels lined up shelf deep
Just right. And I don’t know why
It is so much easier to find
Trespassing on what is not mine.


The Smell of Mornings Now

I no longer smell the soured terror
of animals awaiting slaughter,
I no longer smell it in my own sweat
ingested in kisses, cheeks hollow,
siphoning it from you in one long suck.
I savor the sensation
of these empty arms,
as they rise in praise,
unclasped from your pain;
tantruming child sprawled
biting on the floor.

—Julie Woulfe, Jamaica Plain, MA