Poetry from Pamela Taylor

Photo: Ivana Cajina

How to Get Emotional Distance When Voodoo is Not an Option

March in circles until his words
dizzy and fall out of your ears.
Heap those sighs and secrets
into a glass jar and leave
them out in the sun.
The bright light will purify
any microbes left behind.
Let your inner child gather your tears in buckets.
Wait three months for them to harden,
then sprinkle the salt rocks after the first snow.
If you live in a warm climate, move.
You have to retrain the amygdala
not to respond every time you pass by that place
where he first cupped your face
in his calloused hands. Try
counting backwards from one thousand,
but not in your mother tongue.
If none of this works, ask an Aquarian.
They’ll tell you how to forget.

§

To Adam, From Eve

We walked Eden
as if our bodies
were equal
They were holy
They could be
used for pain
We did not know

I won’t apologize
for wearing
these leaves and twigs
Now we approach
each other with wonder
Now you engage my mind

Trust me

The blood from our line
will build the beauty
of our physiques
from this dirt
raise edifices in homage
to our flesh
erect steeples
like our hands stretched
toward the One

§

The Atlantic Ocean Recalls the Middle Passage

At first, I did nothing.

I tried to ignore
the choir of moans echoing
from the underbelly of dark ships
and the clash of iron shackles
rumbling through my depths
until the birds mimicked
the sounds of human
despair in their morning calls.

Then I did what only an ocean could do—
raised my back in twenty foot waves
to topple cargo into my mouth,
sent blue sharks to swarm
the ones thrown overboard.
Some needed to be lured from their misery.
So I lay still, let the sky reflect off my back
like the peace promised by their deities.

There are only so many bodies
you can swallow before you think
of yourself as a monster.

Two million and I haven’t stopped counting.

.

.

Pamela Taylor is a data guru by day and a poet by night. She has a doctorate in social psychology from UCLA, a MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a Cave Canem Fellow. When she is not working or writing, she’s dancing Argentine tango in the Boston area. Pamela’s first chapbook of poetry, My Mother’s Child, was published by Hyacinth Girl Press in June 2015.

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