Debora Ewing, These songs are not for you


I’m twofold along the crease
mirrored in all your faces

condolences with salted rims
casseroles with crumpled tin
smoothed over glass edges
at risk of cracking
if warmth is misapplied

cards stacked over there
some currency, surely
curlicue phrases in calm envelopes
but the photographs are transient
given with a hand on the arm

I remember when he
so young, but then
just a honey love

dropped on the tongue like lemon-sweets
leaving the upper palate raw
so you suck on them until they’re gone
skip the lasagna – that’ll burn
going down and coming up

your silver-polished faces
plead: let me off the hook this once
but no, that’s not what I see – birds
rising from the water, released
caught up in the clouds together

my face looks in the mirror
blank like good linen stationery
folded backsides of envelopes
platitudes turned away

mind the sharp edges you don’t want
to cut your finger

this song is not for you

I cannot write this song
for you — the plaints are sad

penguins don’t dance here
dreams are off-color

this song is an ancient rose
mother in a lost garden

bread left on the table
a library grown full with nettles

this song is pomegranates
because they mourn

and olive oil strangled
from the throats of virgins

this song is a spine set free
the hollow corpse asleep

a lone black swan married
for life, cadging a death

this song is bent willow writing
leaves into murky water

sap gone to amber, beetles
buried, cicadas in larval stasis

this song is a white-tail deer
tongue out in a bloated field

a life once lived is extant
promise in every waking tear

you beg a limelight waltz
my song is not for you


what’s this head of mine
but a place to keep what I’ve pocket-stuffed
a gnawing of hand-me-downs
farmwives’ insistence
this, too, shall pass

it grows heavier each golden hour
where the trees glow pink as if they knew
one day my skull will be rinsed clean
even the ants will be bored

maybe a cicada-maggot
will climb inside
sleep seventeen years
bring my DNA to sunlight
on its own empty husk

debora Ewing is a poet, writer, painter, sculptor of dirt, bone collector, songwriter, and all around ruiner of peace for the greater good. She’s a blog editor at Igneus Press and peer-reviews for Consilience Poetry Journal. Find her writing and art at Dodging the Rain, Consilience, Beyond Words, Shot-glass Journal, and Plainsongs Poetry Magazine. Short fiction “Coloring Outside the Lines” and “Full Moon New Year” are at Jerry Jazz Musician.

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