You are trying to hold on
to sand as seagulls flit and two crabs
limp back toward their holes.
The day gasps its bright
undoing. I’m trying to talk to you
about sex, what’s lost
after marriage, if you believe in god.
You say you’re hungry and
want some ice cream.
Behind the sheer curtain
by the bar, a woman’s silhouette:
She swirls her long dark hair,
piles it atop her head,
then slowly, suddenly completes
the cones. Strawberry-
stained fingers, lips, her red halo
eyes. Night comes on
sticky as milkfat, quick as blood-
wine through teeth.
I remember yesterday’s banquet:
a pig quartered on a cutting board.
Her ears perked as if listening
to the whistles as women wandered in
with tanned shoulders,
breasts. Under embroidered cloths,
scraps of charred flesh fell away between
legs. I drank my tea with milk
and thought of the sow
chained to a stump in the middle
of a greying field. Hunger sneaks up
like two fingers flicking a pink
succulent moon. I return
with the top licked off
your sugar cone. You say
you believe in this: my mouth on yours
as our soles disappear in the surf.
Barbara Schwartz is the author of two books of poetry, a chapbook Any Thriving Root (dancing girl press, 2017) and the collaborative collection Nothing But Light with poet, Krista Leahy (forthcoming from Circling Rivers 2022). A finalist for the 1913 Poetry Prize and Barrow Street Book Prize, her hybrid poetry manuscript What Survives is the Fire was selected for Boomerang Theater’s First Flight New Play, and has been included in The University of Miami’s Holocaust Theater Catalog. Her poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Upstreet, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Carolina Quarterly, Quiddity, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Potomac Review, MAYDAY Magazine, and elsewhere. Barbara is an education consultant and lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.
Ann Calandro is a writer, mixed media collage artist, and classical piano student. Her fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have been published in print and online literary journals and included in two print anthologies. Her artwork has been published in print and online journals, exhibited in galleries, and awarded prizes. See more artwork at www.anncalandro.webs.com.