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Rebecca Morgan Frank
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Rebecca Morgan Frank
For the Sin of Betrayal
Henry and Edward
After Vietnam I
FOR THE SIN OF BETRAYAL
You love silken sides of a racehorse in sweat–
a win greeted by cheers, a raucous rise
from the bleachers where even the small child
fingers the change in his pocket, willing
to bet on it all again. Why wouldn't you
put your money on the dark-eyed beauty,
her untamed kick and gait, her red-saddled sheen?
Who wouldn’t fall for the muscled glory of her?
In the throes of her gallops you forget
your own pony's ribs rising against the flesh,
those first slow circles around the corral.
You neglect her daily patience, always
waiting for the carrot, your hand, the lead.
The sure-footed love she wants to give you back.
On a site in Mexico, the boss’s
hands are full, so his lips twitch and point
as an American girl watches – fetch,
nails, there – she reads
his facial patterns, common language
made over hammer and drill.
Each gesture a sign for the differing
labors of want and wonder.
He loves her.
She brings him nails.
HENRY AND EDWARD
A terrible light splinters
the broad chest of morning as Henry
feels for the lank of Edward
still pressed against his memory.
And the coffee tastes salty like sweat
or tears or the ocean that day
they went to the shore, hungry
for fingertips and breath.
He’d believed it was possible to inhale as one
the lemony summer day. Indelible.
Sometimes he wants to taste the ashes,
to dip his fingers into the cool silver urn
for one last taste of skin.
Architect of night,
who invited you to freeze
my memory, the flicker
of filtered light showing a single
feature on the screen
of my eyelids, heavy
and tender with grief.
She is lovely,
moving like water
towards the arms
that reach from inside
me, tentacles hesitant,
hungry for embrace.
The space between reach and touch
frozen by morning’s arrival.
AFTER VIETNAM I
Didn’t you lose your boyhood here
in the ditch, once,
where monkey flowers gild the roadside?
Didn’t it spill over into the fields and bloom?
The river moved towards your footsteps.
This was not like catfish eyes
staring back at you in solitude, the trophy
of a long day’s catch.
Or the spring when
there was nowhere else to walk
but on the dirt road full of thousands
of heartbeats. Green, damp frogs
as small as your thumbnail.
REBECCA MORGAN FRANK’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in
such journals as Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, The Cincinnati Review, Sou’wester, and Calyx. She is a co-founder and editor of the online journal Memorious: a forum for new verse and poetics and the associate director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Reading Series in Cambridge, MA. She was the 2005 Emerging Writer Fellow and the 2004 Nadya Eisenberg Poetry Fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston. She teaches at Emerson College and at Grub Street, an independent creative writing center in Boston.