Two Poems


Sister, we sailed through nights and years,
protected from the storms without,
but not the storms within our growing
stretching prepubescent selves:

  After dark
                     into the
                             house, light
                                                 down the dark

We lie across the bed we share, across the invisible
line marking my side from yours.  Fierce winds
                                                        rattle the window. 

You rub a peephole on the frosted
pane, count the softly rounded
shells of cars.  They are boats
pulled laboriously along
the canal of Old Town Rd.
                                  to make
                                                          the ice-glazed
                          into Garfield St.                                                                             

Your chin is cupped in hands supported
by elbows planted firmly on the quilt. 
Your arm leans
                    into mine. 
                                     I shift, breaking
                    the narrow angle
our bodies formed. 




yellow tracks laid by headlight beams
on the snow’s
A car slips its mooring, turns, a twist in the line. 
All motion


except       the wind our breathing the falling snow. 

Ghostly faces  bloom                                   


Somewhere beneath us,
indistinct words
and a banging door.  Our father
rises out of shadow, an elongated
moon black against white night.
He wades to the stranded
with a bucket of sand, oblivious
to our cheers.

If I had known how
quickly you would slip away and memory fade
like our father’s white fog breath
dissipated in the sparkling dark,
I might have leaned into that tangent plane of warmth
your arm created.  I might have flung
my arm across your shoulder.


No Title / the mind empty of memory

is a vacant yard—not even ruins of home—
is a window with no center point
like raveled hair tacked above
flat flat scraps of faces staring in.

Words drift by…
          copper boiler full and scalding
                    tatted doily   mother’s dime store vase…

Some words knot—bird
          ready to peck an eye
                    or sing her into flight—
before they fade. 

What’s left is bindweed, moneywort creeping
in at last, at least.  A tangle of desires.


—CJ Muchhala, Milwaukee, WI