October 29, 2019

Francesca Bell

NARROW OPENINGS

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
and a contentious woman are alike.
—Proverbs 27:15

It’s hot. The clouds’ soft faces
are closed, a billowing refusal,
and I want to quarrel
with my lover who just sits
risen dull from a bed we left
damp as horses that have run
for a long time. Hair hangs,
humid and tangled, on my neck,
but he won’t unlatch
the window. Doesn’t like
the noise, he says. I don’t
like him very much. I want
to argue until anger splits me
like flowers that burst across
my short dress. I choose
lipstick to startle him,
Ultra Violent, an assault
of color. He just watches,
his hair still holding
the shape of my hands. Raising
my legs, I let the mirror catch
me, throw him bare skin tingling
sweat. Going for a walk,
I say, slipping into the narrow openings
of sandals, smiling as anger rises
in his dim face. Down each block
I think of him pacing
the closed rooms, stupid and lovely.
Face glowing, I am an August peach.
And my feet slapping
the sidewalk are a dance
as good, as constant, as rain.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004

__________

Francesca Bell: “I live with my husband and two children on a sunny acre of hillside. We’ve a pumpkin patch, and barn owls nesting in the oak trees, and a red-tailed hawk that perches on our fence to contemplate the songbirds. I start poems for the same reason I toss seed into this rich, dark earth: to see what grows from what at first looks like nothing.” (web)

Francesca Bell is the guest on episode 15 of the Rattlecast, Tuesday, October 29th. Click the image to watch and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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