Alicia Cole is a writer and artist in Huntsville, AL. She’s the editor of Priestess & Hierophant Press. Her work has recently appeared in TAB: The Journal of Poetry and Poetics, concis, Atlas and Alice, and Split Lip Magazine, among other publications. She is forthcoming in Witches & Pagans and NILVX.
*The following works were written on residency at SAFTA”s Firefly Farms, Writer’s Coop, in Knoxville, TN.
The trash man pauses as he drives by,
my red jacket slick with light rain.
He can see me and this is good for you
can tell that he’s worried, but we see
each other and we pass. And this is also
good. The goat has already run by me
in the joy of the late morning, almost
in a panic, for isn’t joy a panic? I make
coffee for myself, the first time in months
I’ve made coffee. My husband does
everything for me. I’m ill and coming
out of illness and illness is my tired,
ratty blanket. I’d like to give my blanket
to the goat and let her lay on it; maybe
she will make joy from our mutual panic,
her brown flank, her bright eyes.
Why do we say animal eyes are bright?
Are they sometimes dull? Are they
sometimes like ours, crying to God
and unseeing? The coffee is good, but
the mug is too hot, and I scramble to begin.
Look, all this day will be a long
climb through the turf of the grazing
grounds, the sheep with their soft muzzles
bent down. I will take off my jacket,
to not call caution, to sit and invite.
The difference between the dead moth,
the one plastered to the pane, its wings
spread, and the live moth is the difference
between our mouths parted, the way
we kneel, the way we look, the way we smile,
always the other smile, the hidden smile,
and the way we looked like dead things
flat against the glass when we put on gold
rings and wondered: what is it like to look
at the living, and have we finally arrived?