The Ice Has Begun to Unclench
The pool froze months ago. Above me,
bits of twigs and leaves suspend in a slab of grey.
My glass ceiling is an infinity mirror—a mise en abyme,
no more than a funhouse trick of misogyny,
cracked but unbroken—a barrier to a darker ceiling
of false sky. Looking up I see how fractals of stars limn
each leaf. I have no more choice than flotsam.
When this ice floe breaks up and melts will it make
any difference to me? Even my body isn’t my own.
I was born with eyes that can never close…
—Joy Harjo Poet Laureate
Well not born exactly.
Can you imagine, me, Barbie, swimming
doing the scissor kick, swan dives,
the breast stroke—more my style—
synchronized into a Busby Berkeley
extravaganza. Get out your kaleidoscope.
I can perform this number all by myself
in stop-motion animation.
Peepers start Evensong in high C major.
I see a pink jet trail—puffy pink clouds.
Let me tell you about water, dark green
and purple underneath. Pink light retreats.
My mind drifts beneath a liquid blanket.
I hear your brother watching TV.
Mother is washing dinner dishes.
You are curled on your bed reading.
If the stars fell into this pool
would they hiss when they hit the water?
Would they sputter out and drown?
I lie here like a stunned mullet—
fishy and diluted—when cicadas
start their racket I might go out
of my mind. I miss sex. Then I imagine
Ken preening in front of his mirror.
My drowned eyes point toward the sky.
Dale Champlin is an Oregon poet with an MFA in fine arts. She is the editor of Verseweavers and director of Conversations With Writers. Dale has published in VoiceCatcher, North Coast Squid, Willawaw Journal, Mojave River Press, The Opiate, and other publications. In November she published her first collection, The Barbie Diaries, with Just a Lark Books.