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POEMS

A CHEERFUL LITTLE SONG

By Carole Southwood

The house on the hill

is white as the sky today

so today at least, it's difficult to see.

Everything blends

into a piece of paper, blank as a mind.

Blackbirds as if they were words

fly in the whiteness through the white house

in here, somewhere above, between and within

the house and white sky, one.

Words as if they were birds alight not.

The hill is green.

Oh. It isn't a real scene, you see, but an imagined one

of white and black and green, all words

as if they were birds alighting but lighting not, a scene

of height, a little depth, all of it

imagined.

It is for this reason, then, that when the house burns down,

burns up, in fact, it's paper and that's a fire,

no one is here to watch me lose my every little thing,

no one here to offer me a place to play till

my abode is in repair.

So I sing

a cheerful little song:

"No cold so lonely as a white mind astray.

Alas

no loss so weighs.

Second stanza, what the heck:

no sound so soothing

as that of the letter S

in alliteration. Confess. No pain

so pays."

CAROLE SOUTHWOOD teaches at Empire State College, and is author of the novel "Call Me Shady." She will join other contributors to the "Beyond Bones II" anthology reading from their work at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 25 at the Erie Community College/Empire State College Literary Series in the Appletree Business Center, 2875 Union Road in Cheektowaga.

***

IN THE SHOWER

By Carole Southwood

This must be my body.

Today I'll take it to the gardens

where I'll walk among the travelers.

On the footbridge

I'll have it stop with me

while I admire the sky

and the long shadows of the trees

I love upon the lawn in the late afternoon.

I'll take it with me to the steps

near the falling water and the mist

where I'll set it down

beside an urn of red flowers

and then I'll stand it up

and with hands in empty pockets.

I'll touch the water

and finger the silver stones.

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