the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2007



Lynn Patmalnee


My father
carried me down the hallway
in the dark,
towards the light
coming from the bathroom door,
cradled me
in one large,
turned on the faucet with the other,
set down his
on the cracking
and with tap water
with iron and lead,
wet his fingers,
made the sign of the cross tenderly
upon my head.
My fist
fat with adoration
drew him closer and
while he was within my grasp.
when I whisper the
Our Father,
I think how having
no faith
is the hardest cross to bear,
and I thank him
for trying to
save me.

(Previously published in Knightscapes.)

Leaving Newark Airport

Fixing my make-up in the rear-view,
wishing I could reapply your kisses
like lip gloss, shimmering inside my purse,
resting against my thigh on the long ride

down the Turnpike to the Parkway,
warm air through the windows
brushes hair from my shoulders,
rubs bare skin beneath my billowing sleeve.

Your kisses are the color of sunset
shining through the windshield
on a Friday night road trip,
promises something amazing might happen.

But what could happen now, you
a glint in the twilight sky, and me,
alone in the front seat, lips pale, parted?


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