The 2River View 23.1 (Fall 2018)

Caitlin Ferguson

Heroic Ballad

There's a man who pulls a red thread from your lungs
            and ties it around your wrist to mark for later
                        when the light is better to cut. A man whose five

                                    fingers leave prints so easily, that point
            to a bird and it's his bird, that point to a body
                                    and calls it his as if to name things are to own them as if to own

 a body is to meld all the good
                        parts together and call it monster. There's a part in this song
            where the distortion shows through, where he cuts through bone,

                                    takes your hand in his, and tells you about the dream
                        where he pulls your body from the ocean and tries to dress
                        you in his polo shirt, his khakis. It was morning, sweetheart,

 you were so beautiful, he says. You only wanted to steal his voice box,
                        his tongue, so you could sing the low notes. They only listen to those
            low notes, how the hero moans. Not how you wanted to gulp down the sea.

Only the Dead Grow Best in the Desert

Today, the sky’s all sun and momma
strokes the brown of her zucchinis,
her snap peas, and cries as if her tears
will be enough for her garden to grow.
 It’s important to have living things,
she says, as she rubs mulch under
her eyes but it’s all dried out. Dust
homes in the curve of her ear, the dip
of her clavicle, her shirt folds. Once,
I saw her laughing under an overhang,
mud splattered, dripping. As the sky
swelled, she sank still in her body
and drowned. But, now, the earth’s
cracked through like skin in winter.
She kneels on a rotten apple, sooths

the tomato plants like little crosses.

Caitlin Ferguson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University—Newark. Her work is forthcoming from Tar River Poetry and can be seen on Toe Good Poetry.

<< Mark Conway
Sandra Kolankiewizc >>
Copyright 2River. Please do not use or reproduce without permission.