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Nancy A. Henry: Two Poems

Plan B | Matins

Plan B

My love, let's tune out the scaremongers,
move out to the desert
(now for we will soon be old),
even if the water table is in question,
even if our great dams are vulnerable,
even if everything green there would wither
in 48 hours without irrigation—
the light, so clear, so free of the haze and mist
and angst of the east
would make up for it all.

In Mexico, I heard, they bake bread in the shapes
of skulls and—what else?—virgins,
love and death dancing
inevitable as dawn,
inevitable as darkness.
I am afraid of becoming a dry, clenched woman.
I am weary of stuffing cakes into my sorrow.

There, volcanoes offer up
dangerous blossoms of fire
to all the gods there are
that have moved on from here.
broken glass glitters in the street,
so obviously not diamonds,
so clearly not stars,

and I am starved for wonder
and the new colors we could name
in a language we have never heard,
breathing air that has swept in across a mesa
so blue, so far,
that if we hope ever to reach it,
my love,

we must start walking now.


I once held holiness
silver hostage
pressed a saint's face
into my white breast
a charm
against loneliness, lust.

You, filled with the edgy lightning
of a man, do you know
what it is
to stockpile arms
against desire?

The dark rosary of crows
on a wire, the prayers
repeating in the
whir of wheels
long after you've
stopped willing them?

Pray for us sinners
now and in the hour
of our death.

The skies of my religion
are full of witnesses,
and every moment
we are caught in the act.

Poet's Biography:
Nancy A. Henry's poems have appeared in Animus, Southern Humanities Review, Pedestal, Poetrybay, Poetry International, The Hollins Critic, Spoon River Poetry Review, and other publications in the US, UK and AU. She's an Associate Editor of The Café Review, and teaches English composition and literature at Southern Maine Community College. She was a co-editor of the Maine poetry anthology, A Sense of Place. Her chapbooks Anything Can Happen and Hard were published by MuscleHead Press. She's received a Pushcart Prize nomination and an Atlanta Review International Merit Award. Prior to teaching English she was an attorney in the field of child protection.

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