Poetry by Amy Wright from Cracker Sonnets
Jax Ovie Blows Perfect Smoke Rings in Farnham’s Musty Playhouse
Morning throttles Jax’s motor,
lowers her frost skirt for him,
if someone else’s bride. Let Lambs
work their way up class ladders
with Starter hats and Nikes, he
thinks when Colleen clicks past
ignoring catcalls, heels snapping concrete,
a jar of maraschino cherries jiggling, ready
to be tossed into her Alka-Seltzer
before she drops wasp-waisted onto the
stage apron, owing nothing to no man
and off all day tomorrow.
Daughertys Don’t Live like Whitfields
tucked under trucker caps, clambering
up fig boughs rapt by Kentucky racetracks’
but like migratory Arctic terns
who top Tew Knob and yodel out of earshot,
voices joyriding peaks and valleys.
No blue kite ducks their cottonwoods
only to nosedive tomato vines. No stuck
drawer is their laughter, whittled
albatross their suggestion box.
Blessed addicts with 24-hour drugstore panacea,
they sigh in recliners, lungs a euphonic accordion,
steady, fathomable, and absolute.
Eye of Every Storm
Fat Ehud sips ash, one knee cocked
on rusted bumpers, jabs elbows down Central
High hallways, bowls Star Williams into
lockers, unlit cigarette dribbling
scorn, denim jacket thrown
down with aplomb.
Motorcyle idling, prepped
to litter night’s oceanic pastures,
fingers snapping like pinged gravel
so that nothing about that town is the same
come morning, thirst’s slick stone
in a bedside Dixie cup, white crickets
nibbling horizon’s goblin rind.
Virginia Leabus’ Dreams Are Stuffed Chicken Wire Parading Promises
After two failed marriages, Virginia goes on
sauerkraut diets, splits hogsheads of molasses
with Martha, shreds deeds. Her ribs
bowed pines under snow, her eyes flyspecked
windows in bright sun.
She hangs upturned bells and horseshoe talismans
of hope she may live beyond the life she was given,
pulls two beers clinking from the refrigerator,
a sleeve of light flaring in her dark apartment.
“What it means to have a woman’s body,”
she tells her daughter, “is to stand at the mouth of the cave
and be the cave. Bats flying out of it like hearts.”
Coralee Robbins Showers in the Dark
in clawfoot bathtubs, coos bless yous, raising
heron-blue fishermen with waved handkerchiefs.
Harried, she rear-ends a Civic on Jefferson,
drawls, bottom lip a curl of baler twine,
forgets to mind her dead, circles lakes and bonfires,
howls over slick-glazed, sweet-sauced carcasses,
which she fingertip-dabs with Wetnaps,
communing foremost with the holy
mackerels of deliciousness.
Bea Lineberry Doesn’t Deserve This. What Does It Mean to Deserve.
Bea renders the Beloved’s fat into Crisco,
pours her heart into the great collaborative
dumbwaiter, consoles herself with peppermint
toddies & Hershey’s syrup, toe trails sunset-pecked
barns’ slow fade, dreams in third person, gorges
mahogany bookcases with series romances, fasts
after backwoods church services until nothing
is ordinary or all things are.
Convoys Nucleate in Pizza Hut Parking Lots like Blue Angel Formations at an Air Show
Roy and Lynn play games like Barbara Is Electric
and I Am A Radio Song, Rumble in the Nurses’
Station, and Beg. They launder hands on mango-colored
hand towels after fixing the car. Always fixing
cars or produce stands or each other, so many Adcocks
have their windows tinted they have nearly conquered
happiness in the form of license plate identification,
which they frame in purple lights to find “Hankstr” and
“Lalabrd” and “Pandoo” across Vesuvian arrow-streaked
plains. They turn forty-five without Benedictine
in their cupboards, likening all such collectibles
to lint cakes one eventually learns to dispense with.