Saturday, April 6, 2013

poems by janice moore fuller



The ghosts are baffled.
They skitter up the stairs
three steps at a time.
The lime green carpet
grabs at their ankles.
This is only lore, a story
the twins concocted
after the divorce.
When we penciled histories
in closets—M and A 
lived here 1979-1999
the chandelier crystals
flickered against silver walls.


Here in my loft,
the cat shoots
through her plastic
tunnel, crinkling
for anyone who will
listen.  Always the same
portal on the wall glistens,
flashing her messages
from behind the tapestry.
If only she can decode
the threads woven tight.
triangles, circles,
dementia of meaning.
She notices the way
the bottom ruffles
and noses under,
disappears a minute.
When she emerges,
I smooth her fur.
She’s nearly an agnostic,
staring blank and far away.


Street Lamp on Cleburne Street

A solitary streetcar, deep in town,
Pesters the late sky with electric sparks.
“Night Noises,” George Johnston

I know nothing about astronomy,
just the Big Dipper, the North Star.
A bar of flecks, a neck craning.
In Wales, I lay on my back
in the star gazing tent,
children clustered around me.
The dipper was a sauce pan,
the guide said.  And those
scattered ones, twin stars
conjoined but pulling apart—
the start of a new galaxy?
Patterns with no name
or meaning—only light’s wrinkle.

When I was small, an only child,
the night light was never on
when I needed it.
Each evening I’d stand with the black
stairs at my back, staring
at the street lamp outside my window.
Is this real? I’d ask the steady eye.
Did someone dream me?
A cup of light, a golden wand splitting
in from out, safe from not.
Is this my hand?  Where
is the window?  The telephone
wires, the dark dogwood branches.

Today I am a constellation,
navel, ripples, wrinkled fingers,
eyelashes, fewer each day.
Sleep rearranges me.
Daylight reassembles.
I write this to you now,
old street light by my window,
still hoping you’ll shine me an answer.

Writer-in-Residence and Professor of English at Catawba College, Janice Moore Fuller has published three poetry collections. Her fourth book is forthcoming from Cinnamon Press in Wales. Her plays and libretti, including an adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, have been produced in the US, Estonia, and France.

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