How I Got to April
I fell asleep last year with letters
printed on wooden tiles, hands,
like lycra across my thigh, a poem
about Carolina limbs in winter,
but woke to a man with eyes
like songs. I decided then to smile,
decided to pull him through
Charleston, Columbia, the Appalachians,
to the tethered state beyond.
The waking was short. I crammed
our worlds into the backseat
and drifted like foam, away from moon,
toward noon at its climax. I forced him
behind the wheel and slept.
When he kept driving the baskets
beneath my eyes carried lifetimes. I bled
his voice when it clicked. The stars hated
us in the end, colliding and rupturing
on the blackboard of night.
The month was wet. No rain,
just the subtle hands of time
becoming brave. I laughed
at the moon, wrote her, spoke of her
solitary suicide, how she slips,
like injured animals, from the eye,
and rots beyond the endless stretch
of horizon. I couldn't take my hands
from him, left them in the abyss
of snow. He would call and his laughter
would be a sky so shot full of holes,
that I would rain on my own.
I became Eros, telling him stories
of people who pretended otherwise.
I wasn't one. I just spit out seeds,
and burn Saint Valentine myself.
He gave a space between body
and wall for me to live. I pushed the South
from my eyes and spoke as if I'd never
tasted gravy over bread. Dressed
like an Eskimo, knowing all the thousand words
for snow. Furious. Forgotten. Phlegmatic.
I wrote about tires and their trudge
through the lanes of unfamiliar license plates
and men with beards as I've never seen.
The snow was not packed. It melted
across my birthday, singing a death march.
Returning I did not know winter anymore.
It was a story told to children so as it quell
their eyes, feed them sleep. I became a tsunami.
I destroyed time and its shards of silence.
By now Carolina was distant. The northern
terrace, a cradle of memory. I breast-fed wait.
The circuitous fashion of dream amuses,
traveling as a monarch in March, north,
north, north, until home became him.
I wish I too could travel with wings like castles,
stretched across the fabric of sky.
Instead, I wait for the flowers of May,
and all the rain which shall gorge them.
Erin Elizabeth is a Southern girl who grew up in a rural community outside of Columbia, S.C., and now makes her home in Providence, R.I. She is currently paying the bills with the advertising from her online opus, Stirring, a monthly literary collection; other writing; and the now-defunct Insomniac Asylum's Poetry Slam, of which she is a 16-time winner. Recent publications include 2River, Gravity, Disquieting Muses, and many more. Ms. Elizabeth was chosen as a Favorite Featured Poet of 1999 by Poetry Superhighway.