Issue 9 · 2007

Three Poems



by Kristy Bowen




in which a girl is transformed into a goldfinch



She starts by spelling her name

backwards and hiding beneath


the bed.  On the carousel,

the women in coats brush


against her heat, her animal smell. 

The men forcing their fingers


against her nape to smooth the soft down.

It’s terrifying: no song, no wings,


feathers in the clawfoot tub. 

When she steps from beneath the curtain,


a shiver, a hiss like an open bottle.

Then a million splinters, glinting in the air.





still-life with broken door



Before the part with the mercury,

the fences dark as nails, you could

see all the way to Wyoming.  Could

see all the way into girls gone soft


and round about the hips.  A man

could lose an arm like that, to lightning,

to machines.  Mile after mile of busted

lunchboxes glinting in the sun.


Before the bad water, before the burning,

we opened our windows each night,

wandered milky and loose

as hinges.  Misplaced watches


and old shoes, mile after mile

of rusted Fords.  Every woman

gone blue round the mouth,

gone black round the edges.





dead girl's love song



In the blue car, her name

is rum-sweet, etched


in the dark architecture

of backseats.  Elizabeth


of cat tails and ric-rac.

Of blue dresses and burnt


out houses.  Her body crowded

with radios and a scar beneath


the ribs where the song

slips out.  Pretty as sin. 


Pretty as a picture of a picture

of a girl.  In the drugstore


glow, fingering buttons,

her limbs are cluttered, clumsy.

E · Poetry Journal