Two Poems by Kate Angus

Tell me about last night

I drank when I hadn’t been drinking so everything felt like a movie
about being sixteen: all those big emotions. The swirl of ice in the glass.

Also, I left the house. This body I hide under black
shirt, black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans. I took it outside.

I walked it as if it were the dog—separate from myself, a little bit distant
although tethered to me, beloved even if sometimes a cause for shame:

how the dog shits in the street and I must clean it; how my body
takes up so much room. The belly a puffball mushroom. The ham

hocks of the arms. I know I am supposed to love my body.
It does a good job. I walk, I run. Sometimes I sleep so deeply

when I wake up I think I am in a new dream. Good girl, Body,
I tell her in my mind when I remember this.


 

Thirteen years and this is what you are to me now

A little prickle
in my mind like a thistle burr

in the swaying grass, a nettle
that just catches the hem

of my sleeve and scrapes
delicately the tender skin

of my wrist. A dream last night
of a flooded bathroom

and broken blue-green tiles
under chlorinated light.

A morning of ginger
tea in my cup, uneaten banana, sirens

wailing on the street in waves. The ocean
is all the years we won’t meet again:

deep, blue, and full of fantastical
creatures—translucent man o’wars,

ancient sharks, giant squid with their tentacles long
as ships and studded with suckers like muscled

mouths. Their kisses are capture. So
were yours. And somewhere also ruins

of great cities. Marbled sculptures of gods
now clad in green seaweed clothes that undulate

slowly in the deep. Schools of shimmering
fish like flocks of birds in the sky—so many

bright colors. The birds sing. Under and over the water.

Image Credit: “Malcesine” by Tina Blau licensed under public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

About the author

Kate Angus is the author of So Late to the Party (Negative Capability Books, 2016) and the founding editor of Augury Books. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Hub, Indiana Review, The Academy of American Poets' "Poem-A-Day" feature, The Atlantic online, The Washington Post and Barrow Street. More information can be found at www.kateangus.org.

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