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Red Eyes



Meridith Gresher


Grief glows in the dark like the face
of a loved one with jaundice,
yellowing gift-wrap to be undone
crinkled up and discarded. Skin
like sun, grief clammy with fever,
both carried out with the brittle Christmas
tree. Needles drop; they cut
through woolen sweaters and
heavy mittens piercing the living
with the symbol of everlasting before
the tree travels to The Home Depot,
to the chipper, to be made mulch
for flowers, bedded for Winter,
that will their faces to see Spring.

One Full Moon Cycle

He does not love a muscle in her
coltish stride.
He does not notice that she spreads
Jergens extra dry lotion
(with the scent of cherries)
over her arms and elbows
to parse the winter air.
But he feeds off her when he needs
blood more than clean sheets.

She spreads
jam and peanut butter. She,
the one who drives carpools
and spends nights quilting
for newlyweds at church;
the double ring design
like the one she made for them
their first year married.
It covered their bodies till
he stained it with another
while she visited
her mother in Charlotte.

She does not love him
Pabst Blue Ribbon
while driving
home and then
belching it
in his sleep.
She does not love
the way he pats her
on the ass
in front of his friends
at barbeques and church pot lucks.

She does not remember
how long since he wore
his ring: five
maybe six years?
He, the one who
begged her to marry
through one full moon cycle.
He, the one who said
he wanted five
ignores the three conceived.
He, who promised May
has squandered autumn.

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