World of Two
I was too young to know better when I put him
in a dress. Poor thing. What was his name?
My brother would remember. I regret it now.
But at the time I pretended he enjoyed it. I had
no sisters, only four older brothers. What was I
to do? I created our own private world, spoke
for both of us and pretended he enjoyed it in his
dress, sometimes even a bonnet. There was tea.
There were conversations. I meant no harm.
He was so handsome, fair, big-boned. It was
a world of two. Took him from the barn. I put
him in a stroller, held him there with one hand,
pushed it with the other. What was his name?
All I remember was the day he got away.
I scared myself. We were on the screened porch
and he hid beneath the flowered sofa, which
I learned had wire springs. A button got caught
in the coils. The more he pulled to escape
the worse was his pain. Poor thing. I put him in
a dress, not the last boy. I pretended he enjoyed
it. I meant no harm. What was his name?
Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains)
In a sea around us the rain echoes
that I’ve wronged you. Striking, I have found
no dry match left. Nightly, vespers
from the advancing sea whisper
of your leaving. Your leaving now surrounds
each day. Inescapably, all gestures
have an undertow. Rain wraps around
my legs to draw me down. I conjure
your mouth as mine fills with water. Sound
and sight ebb as slowly we drown
in the rain around us as seas whisper.
Mare Spumans (Sea of Foam)
A dark science swept me into this
birdless place. Each morning, the forgetting:
stars erased at daybreak, a thousand
deaths. Whelks strewn upon the shore, beautiful
in their wreckage: fleshy pinks, pale
violets, the violence they endured
making them more beautiful. They call
from a former cloistered life and will be
smaller tomorrow, half-buried in the sand,
becoming sand. Nothing now to hear, broken
open, split to silence, still a sea within.
Mare Cognitum (Sea of Understanding)
Happy is he who forgets that which can’t be changed.
— Strauss, Die Fledermaus
Lethe in droplets day by day. Ask for the erasure of snow, of water,
the arcing fell swoop of the Bird’s Way to let go this life, or an empty,
oarless boat in which to hunker down. My Polish grandmother
searched my childhood eyes, chanting, Dlaczego tak smutny jestes?
I was already halfway to another place. Make no mistake, I’ll miss it
sorely, yes. First, the feathered ones, then iridescent trout, streams the
green of a bruise, each deer and goat and dog. But luna moth, so what
if I call you a sulphur, a swallow, a salmon? If vermilion becomes
chartreuse? I’ll rename the world and then transform its every purpose.
No more bee geometry, not another sum. It will start with walking into
rooms, forgetting why I’ve gone there, finding foreign objects in my
hands, finding my hands foreign, as I let fall my dignity, my raiment,
like peonies their petals. Open me as ants unglue tight buds. Take
away my secrets one by one. I’ll pray to gods of light whispering,
no stars tonight no stars, envisioning dark flying things: the pipistrelle
and mourning cloak, a lover winged. Nymphs soaring in cast after cast,
and I will fly, piercing the heavens, galaxies away, in search of one
whose name I’ll have long escaped.
She wanted it and didn’t want it
with equal strength. She wanted it
fiercely then didn’t want it just as fiercely
in alternating rhythms. Little Curly,
Little Bug, a stray, twice dispossessed,
chosen for her hardiness. No longer
to be trusted, the body inside the body,
stone inside a shell, grew shapeless. Designed
for no return, the night became infinite as
wedlock. Was it a failure to separate
in the end? She sought no other
world than this: to know kindness.
—Mary Kathryn Jablonski
A gallerist in Saratoga Springs for over 15 years, visual artist & poet Mary Kathryn Jablonski is now an administrative director in holistic healthcare. She is author of the chapbook To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met, and her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals including the Beloit Poetry Journal, Blueline, Home Planet News, Salmagundi, and Slipstream, among others. Her artwork has been widely exhibited throughout the Northeast and is held in private and public collections.