Rita Anderson has an MA Playwriting (2014) and an MFA Poetry, University of New Orleans, where she was poetry editor of the literary journal. Both of her poetry books: The Entropy of Rocketman (Finishing Line Press) and Watched Pots (A Lovesong to Motherhood) have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Rita won the Houston Poetry Festival, the Gerreighty Prize, the Robert F. Gibbons Poetry Award, the Cheyney Award, and an award from the Academy of American Poets, and her work has appeared in many literary publications, including Spoon River Poetry Review, Waves (AROHO Anthology), EVENT Magazine (British Columbia), Stonecoast Review, Blue Heron Review, Old Northwest Review, Cahoodaloodaling, The Blueshift Journal, Blotterature, Transcendence, PHIction, Persona (50th Anniversary Edition), and Explorations (University of Alaska Press). Rita is a member of Poets & Writers and The Academy of American Poets. Contact Rita at her website http://www.rita-anderson.com
She Pictures Bees
They are meeting for the first time. Young,
he is drunk on the easiness of things
as if he were a small country and his guests
cities he had already swallowed.
A familiar song plays. An unknown season,
she enters, fresh from elsewhere.
An acre of corn, he thinks.
Her thoughts are whales, but she has
only played at passion and she is deep
in her body’s heat when she sees him.
(Heart, he wants to say, to make it less
crude. More profound, her body
a rattle he can’t shake.) He circles
her as they gentle other partners.
A mating dance of distance.
It is Autumn in his eyes. Harvest, he
hums, his mouth bubbling.
Radishes and ferns fall from her head,
her soul too full to speak. Their
bodies–singing like tuning forks–do not touch.
It is summer of a first year, gardenias oozing.
Last night, she whispers. (Frightened
of the words, she is more afraid to hold them
any longer.) When you put your mouth on me
*butterflies and lizards weave in and out
from between her coral lips* It was Ocean.
He thinks *Hourglass* Stopwatch*
Far away, getting farther.
A decade lapses. . .
A tropical honeymoon, his. Emptied glasses,
paper umbrellas limp against the side.
If there was music once, it no longer plays,
life—a brochure of a beach paradise.
Desert, he thinks.
He has an appetite and the attention span of a fly,
but a woman shades his side and
he is bound to her. Feelings, he muses, recalling
the Girl Who Smelled of Cloud and Sky,
are long stretches in the merciless sun and, love, sunglasses
that slide off of your face.
*first published in Random Sample Review
Putting the Mountain Back in the Molehill
Exaggeration is used for focus.
Let me put it to you this way:
a surgeon inflates a patient’s abdomen,
organs stark against the gas. A bladder distended
with water is not an ovary, and so
hyperbole sharpens perspective. I thought
I had buckets of love for you, a gallon of clown
confetti, but I have found it’s only eight ounces,
of which a teaspoon is left. Having been
lovers, we have more and less.
If it is not this pain, there’s another.
Not this joy, another. Sometimes
smoke is not fire but what’s left,
a last ember watched out of fear
not desire to make sure the house
won’t burn down. A last duty before sleep.
But, I don’t want to talk about it and, having
said so, can think of nothing else. Things.
Things! Things in their thingy-ness
are kind of personal. And so the reverse
is true: what I have locked out
has seized the cottage, but you will not be
the wolf I tuck in. You cannot be the friend I call.
Really, you can only be nothing at all.
*from chapbook The Entropy of Rocketman (Finishing Line Press)