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          Winged horse, strike stars

(My photo of the Rouillard bronze in Paris.


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School of Fontainebleau, Gabrille d'Estrees and One of her Sisters in the Bath 



Nil Sister

My sister got bare to run through the fountain

and delivery men applauded.

She waxed angry and kicked the wall--

for certain, the hole is still there--

while I looked on all amazement and quiet,

shrub to her fire, timber

to her ax, all admiration as she smoked

Turkish blend, plucked her accent, starved her patience,

chugged ambition, sent away for nightmare

get-smart tisanes, stayed out late and came home thin.

She was the one tourists slowed down to get a look at,

she was the one who got the photographer

to book long after-hours for spare glossies.

The doctor's wife took him out of state

and the minister retired. The math teacher

bled primes and the music professor’s keys stuck.

I was all pronoun to her noun, adverb to her

conjugations. She was the shadow and the runner, both,

she was song and blue-notes, sheet music

or play-it-by-ear. She was the smile,

I was teeth. She was the tub,

and I was the water. So destiny, so the path of triumph.

So plain this and that was my lot, and hers

was oration, with a ride on the new four-lane afterward.

And yet. And yet one afternoon

I slipped into something just a little more and became

as the pear becomes a tree,

pregnant with a king’s love,

yes, heavy with the royal

claim-to-his prize and what

the treasure battens on is me. Just me.

Just the corporeal promise

of my health, with my smile my diadem.

And does she spite me, reach

across our bath to tweak me just that

little on my fleshly apple?

And who can blame her, as

my name now is Mother-


This poem originally appeared in Ekphrasis.






I was not there

when you saw me. 


Photo collage of Michael Cadnum, August, 2014, by Sherina Cadnum


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