Four Poems By E.G. Cunningham
Ladies In Wait
To go crazy alone: the unsung
fold. These hills thrum
in sun only. She stays inside.
What difference does it make?
Venetians, or basins, or the varnished
box weathered from an earlier father’s
reign. The Deep South’s dumb-sharp.
& modern lieutenants’ women have no access
to cliffs or chains. After parties what weapon
to flay old celluloid, not to think
of bay or brine—the root remains
Flesh / Flash
The open-handed blow / the togetherness
truant / the pocketed rip-off. Mortar estranged
from the brick but I still have my spare key,
still know the ess-curve in the dark by
the lake like the cue to rush toward dinner
but I falter. Something different in the chest
& throat over highbacks & personal china—
a certain welling up, apropos of the only
holy glint from the frosted glass,
means it’s genitive / on account of,
in the sweat over bread. The pictures come
out: album—from albus—that is, a blanching,
reaches its bullet to family en masse,
but we look on at the past. Sufferers reattempt.
Tenebroso for Greco
Forget the trade. Better hands
have been laid to waste. Sunset
peek-a-boo framed the cemetery
field. I knelt. The grave pitted
& squirreled. Here’s not there
or no one is.
In the undertow: new vowels
& you’ve imagined
a word called drowning.
They have blue words
for this kind of ache.
Food coloring seeps
from stamens in rain.
There’s a way out of this.
Family conversations on car trips.
Slunk far into the leather folds
to keep from inhaling the aftershave,
the secondhand. Even for thirty minutes.
We were strapped up like cellophane,
lichen. I mean we were children.
I never knew we could become
some vogue, some tabled remainder.
I’m still in the car after all, trees
rush in thick blurs beyond the windows
your hair reflecting the dinnertime sun: saffron.
E.G. Cunningham’s work has appeared in BANG!, Drunken Boat, The Volta, and elsewhere. She lives in Athens, Georgia.