“Tonight/moths may be lost,” Poetry by Claudia Savage

Long Island Railroad from Jamaica, Main Line, 1985

Tonight
moths may be lost.

In the graffiti’s
shadows loud boys

cover my twelve- year-old
mouth with their urgent
desperation. Even in the
corners. Even.
The train shakes our eyelids open.
Window. Car. Car. Window.
Jeans with the knees razored out.
Sneaker tongues slouch
toward the rumble.

Tonight
my ears do not hear

the raven’s heavy
mouth, light wings
hitting stars.

We burrow. Our hearts’ whistle. Sudden arrival.

Somewhere ice is
heaving itself against
summer.
Some time I will tell you
how it was to be kissed first
by one, then another.

Curvature of the Body

We are never truly sated
even when we shed this day pressing what’s cool

against what’s eager.

Warmth rises up as sun defies the night.

Ravenous after a swim in the river we fall
on our tuna sandwiches.

Our mossy toes raw silk.

I worry that bellies now full turn hollow. Clouds bind light.

You sigh onto the warmest patch of rock
lick my shoulder’s sorrow. Stroke my back as
cartographer. Make me mouth again
again.

Into Wind

Only granite could
bookend my star-flung
shadow.

That night, I walked the steepest face by moon.

The wind ripped at my eyes, so I shut
them to claim odd names—Tiresias,
Inanna.
Consonants off the pebbles of my teeth.

Almost there, a turquoise butterfly’s
wing beneath my foot, locked in snow.
Not now, I thought, but picked it anyway.

In the dark universe of my left palm it thawed. With
heat, it trembled. I’ll call you, beauty.

The wind wouldn’t get everything.

Into Splinters

Late morning. The same trail for
continuity.

A rivulet of sun through my favorite pine—the one
tested for pygmy owls—two short raps to its
desiccated heart.

My torso harbors something winged. It doesn’t
tire.

I walk my succulent ankles to spears while
trees shed the
extraneous.

Beg for spring. I plead with
winter. Smother my
brightest leaves.

Turn me
vapor.

Into Snow

Make me a scarlet berry on a dormant tree.

No. Better. Make me a downed bird pierced by the branch
it called home. Widen the wound and wonder at my heart’s color.

While there, eat my lungs. Lick my spine
pale. Till nothing weights my vertebrae.

I’ll contrast air with air.

Snow is more lovely under night’s wing.
Lips after pressure’s kiss.

If you must. Clear-cut winter’s
trees. Flood the remainder.

Claudia F. Savage once cooked for people recovering from illness and wrote the chapbook The Last One Eaten: A Maligned Vegetable’s History. She’s had poems and interviews most recently in The Denver Quarterly, Water-Stone review, Iron Horse Review, clade song, Nimrod, Cordella and Bookslut. In 2015 she received her first Pushcart nomination. She is an Associate Poetry Fellow at The Attic in Portland, OR and also teaches privately through Savage Poetics. She is part of the performing experimental poetry/music duo, Thick in the Throat, Honey, and co-runs the record label Thrum Recordings. Her greatest passion is helping other mother-artists to keep making work. She writes a column for VoiceCatcher.com called “Leave the Dishes” about balancing parenting and writing and has been awarded grants and residencies at Ucross, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Jentel and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Find her at www.claudiafsavage.com.

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