When I married my man, I swapped out one English surname (Wilson) for another, much less common one (draw your own conclusions). As I Googled myself in a pathetic attempt at ego-stroking procrastination, I said to E, as he worked at the computer across from me in our shared home study, “I’ll be damned. There’s another Justine Musk.”
“She appears to live in Essex.”
“Just goes to show you,” observed E, “it’s not just a made-up porn name.”
Poems I like
from latest issue of ROSEBUD:
PRINCE OF THIEVES (John Lehman)
If you’ve ever watched COPS, you have an idea
what it’s like when I chase my run-away husky
through the village on garbage night. He jumps
fences and knocks over metal cans. I roar down
back alleys in my Mustang, and…Well, he’s fast
(part wolf) but I’m armed with cookies, flashlight
and a leash. I spot him in the distance beyond
my beam’s reach — a prince in ermine dancing
amid spoils, the glint of moonlight on white bones.
When it snows, and I know it soon will, there’ll be
a trail of paw prints leading all the way to spring.
SECRETS OF A WEREWOLF’S WIFE (John Lehman)
She carefully watches the calender and
for any traces of blood under his finger-
nails. She has learned not to question
where he goes at night, the tears in his
trousers nor why the bedroom window can
never be locked. But, she too has secrets,
in bed when she pulls her arm from under
his waist, it is a large, lifeless snake. Her
thoughts at dawn are geese honking south.
And sometimes, when she knows they are
hunting for him with guns, she becomes
TRACES (Greg Gregory)
the translucent grasses of Summer
I stumble on an old deer skull,
bleached white, tongueless,
its eye hollows staring.
clay pigments with spit,
blew them through bone tubes
onto rock in images to throw visions
onto the chaos.
In the Shang dynasty
oracle bones were cracked for signs
in their marrow. Runes
were sometimes carved on chips of bone
and thrown to predict a future.
Inguz, you will be fertile.
Dagaz, you will transform,
and the blank rune, the blank bone,
Odin, it will be unknown.
The bones ground us, keep us solid
when our hands weave nothing.
We leave them as legacy
in some thrown pattern, full of portents,
until they, too, disappear
and the ground is again
blank as a Zen mirror.