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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
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CAITLIN PRYOR

 

 

 

Caitlin Pryor

Caitlin Pryor's poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Redivider, Nimrod, The Mississippi Review, Poet Lore, Fugue, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from The New School and a PhD from The University of North Texas, where she is currently a teaching fellow and serves as the Managing Editor of the American Literary Review. You can learn more about her work at caitlinpryor.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Meter

 

While you take meetings I wander the wet

and uphill streets—anthropologist

 

who tempts the lightning with umbrella spoke, the shelter

a dripping carousel. I visit Japantown in fog,

 

spending my little cash on ideas of animals cast in rubber—

erasers I line up on the railing outside, rank-and-file

 

as the seals we watch later, open-mouthed.

They, too, are made things, bulgebellies who slap

 

the wharf. I’ve been here before—

this city of my last family vacation,

 

but this time it’s you who fill the grey streets

with your hailing. The cable cars that mother loved

 

you derail with an errant hand. The cold drizzle halts

at the shore of your whitecapped smile.

 

These weeks are no different than the other three hundred

we’ve imbibed together, each slowly diluting my life

 

before you—the kaleidoscope of those who made me

dims and slows, even as I direct sequels

 

against the backdrops of those home videos—

me on the redwood roots,

 

dad piloting mom in a wheelchair

I never imagined he’d push away.

 

Now we meander to the arcade museum,

bellies full of unlucky crab.

 

Each whirring antique dares us to forget

what’s come before—

 

every morning we awake and agree to stay,

our matching pillowcases a silent yes.

 

You drop a quarter and I watch

the firefly pop of the meter’s bulbs

 

vacillating between true love and poor fish.

You tighten your grip and we wait for the verdict—

 

how much easier to feed the machine our little choice?

My breath slows as the lights strike their pronouncements,

 

the tips of molten swords in blacksmith fire, revealing

a future your grip squeezes, steadily, towards.

 

 

 

©2015 Caitlin Pryor

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Caitlin Pryor homepage

The American Literary Review

 

 

 

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