14.1 (Fall 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFMake the MagArchives2River
Bird Detail

Arlene Ang

In This the Brother Is Hurting

After twenty-six houses, I still recognize
the hung clothes in the dining room. If there is one thing
he regrets, it is the distance. He means he can't
pick up the phone and say sorry. Now.
There are borders. He shuffles a card deck
with no hearts. I watch his hands until he disappears.
In this, I see myself in the background of yet
another funeral. The bed is not
necessarily numb to the movements
of the sleeper. Last year two thousand people
in Venice saw the same film again and again with different
partners. Today the electric chair
is virtuously painless. As the brother should be —
perched on the sideboard as he observes
the live mouse running tangents
across the floor. There is no escape.

Wherein She Turns the Key in a Motel Room

This is a documentary.
The soundtrack is a woman as she leaves
the television on all night.

Is news of death
a birth itself to the listener?
Every day the orphan
grows lonelier inside its shadow.

Here the clothes are left
in the luggage for fear of hanging.
The clothes, while bruised
by travel, remain undivided.

The way she was
before the first man struck her
with the hanger — breaking first the skin
on her head, then the hanger.

The painting observes
her now: a girl reduced to one brushstroke.
The blood. The faith. The dying light.

Arlene Ang lives in Spinea, Italy, where she serves as staff editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. contact