The Boiler

Andrea England

THAT TIME OF YEAR

It begins with orange blossoms:
Their scent so strong it limns
the cough of rush hour traffic,
their petals so virginal, so ripe.

I hang a red tapestry
over my bedroom shades,
let the light redden as the sun startles
the birds and wakes me early.

This is when I smoke.
Cloves numbing my tongue,
patio pink and fading, cats everywhere,
and dogs barking after them.

I want to tell you of the taste.
It is a dimly lit room, where most
will agree the shadow favors them.
I want to tell you these exhalations

of the world: Love, smoke,
traffic coughing, cat-calls,
anything that hides the light of morning.
But it is the oranges I remember most.

When the oranges drop,
when the scent is found
only in the mind and on my fingers,
I buy the whole cloves,

use them for piercing orange-rinds
and hang these by strings in the kitchen.

 

THE HIGHER SHELF

           Watch the donut and not the hole

            —Burl Ives

The psychic tells me you are sorry

for not visiting more often, that you

still chant limericks like a crown

chants thorns. Now you know all

my secrets. Without, I’ve learned

the excess of living. St. Catherine

claimed she lived on prayer alone.

Last night I buried our ram. Last night

a weasel took all the hens’ heads. Now

the cat is missing. Your granddaughter

reminds me, it’s the circle of life.

Where you died for the last time,

is it where you died for the first?

_____________________________

Andrea England is the author of Inventory of a Field (Finishing Line Press). Her work is forthcoming in Midwestern Gothic, Sonora Review, The 3288 Review and others. Most recently she had the honor of being a Writer-in-Residence at Firefly Farms (SAFTA). She lives and works in Kalamazoo Michigan, where she teaches English and Creative Writing for various universities and organizations.