Poetry — January 13, 2017 12:36 — 0 Comments

Two Poems – Shannon Connor Winward

Getting Wet

The first time I tasted
sweet plum wine
was like kissing a girl
with a candy tongue
deep between her satin sheets

The first time I kissed a girl
was like sliding
into a black velvet dress
that perfectly mirrored
my curves and lengths

The first time I wore
a black velvet dress
was like hearing my mother
invoke me (shiver-clear
as seven-up and gin
in a glass in smoky room) but not
by the name I was given

The first time I took a name
of my own choosing
I thought I was deep
like the baby sprinkled at the
baptismal font thinks it’s drowning
having no frame of reference

The first time I drowned
my mouth filled with brine, rank
and sour as my grandfather’s spit
tobacco, it was the first
of many betrayals

up and down switching places
without warning, the boardwalk Gravitron ride
spinning suddenly not fun, but sick with motion
and weight and headache-inducing depth
like the third glass
of sweet plum wine

like the girl, the dress, the name
the ocean, more satisfying this side of wisdom
when you know what you’re getting
yourself into
and you get in anyway.


To Do List
“…let the bells ring and the children cry”—Henry David Thoreau

Let the phone ring and the baby whine
Let the microwave signal the unretrieved cup
Let the coffee recool
Let the appointments remain unmade
Let the infection fester
Leave the ceiling fan its dust

Heed the poetic imperative
Obey the cry of the occasion
Endure the narrative thrust
Let all the rest of it fall like nutshells
and summer flies
unswept on the kitchen floor

Let the womb flinch
Let the breast drip
Let the tears fall and the wet cloth
wring itself
Let us spend one day
as deliberate as Nature
Let her cry, let her cry

says he who only ever birthed


Shannon Connor Winward is the author of the Elgin-award winning chapbook, Undoing Winter. and a two-time runner up for the Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship in literature. Her work has appeared in (or is forthcoming from) Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, The Pedestal Magazine, Literary Mama, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere. In between writing, parenting, and other madness, Shannon is also an officer for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, a poetry editor for Devilfish Review and founding editor of the forthcoming Riddled with Arrows Literary Journal. 

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney