THREE POEMS by Sara Dammann

Before This

I've scraped my legs bare,
scrubbed and sloughed off
all accumulations. For you—
to be petal nude.
I've risen from this tide-pool,
clean as I'll ever be.
You have taken me for granted
in my absence,
forgotten the stubborn muscles
holding shells closed.
Only precision, certain deftness,
and a sleight of hand can release
and open halves.
You will remember this—
in the oyster-light of the bedroom.
As pale as I am,
the blue threading of my life exposed,
deceptively delicate as most webbed things are,
but each connection attaches to another
never to be pried or rent from the rest,
and surprising— this resilience
trembling on a half-shell
always there.

For My Friend

From behind the counter, the old lady says,
"Honey, you just hold your head high and move on."
There is sympathy in her eyes, and an earthy practicality
as she adds up the 3 silver rings. They are charged
to the soon-to-be-ex-husband's credit card, and my
girlfriend is armed then with hands of her own
adornment. If it is true that love expands you,
makes you more than you were before, opens
you wide to this world. How do I explain the
pencil-sharp contraction, closing in her gut
like a pupil hit with too-bright light?
There is no comforting adage. There is no
amount of bloody-marys that can file
the fine point of a life that is over.
There are no disco songs at triumphant volume
as her soon-to-be-ex-husband hustles his
half of things out the door. There are pleas
and carrots for her little boy, and bone-tired
late night over-analysis, silly chick flicks,
and elaborate plots to get her laid. I tell her
that this is the in-between time that will make
later moments glow. And I can only promise her
that she will never have to stand with palms open
and naked hands again. Once her head
is properly aloft, she will not even see
the ground sprouting tender green shoots at her feet.

Last Call

Some day before your wedding,
you’ll tell your almost-wife
of some business here you must
tend to (she’ll believe you).
And I’ll open my door
to some stolen time.

We’ll go out to the bar
where they’ve forgotten
my name (but that’s okay).
Slow dance with beer in hand,
breathing in deep enough
to make molecules of you.

Later, we’ll kiss by the car,
tugging lips, pulling minutes.
I’ll always, you’ll always
be a question mark. Never
aligning, forever orbiting,
cul-de-sac, my heart.

...Sara Dammann writes from Denton, Texas. Danse Macabre welcomes her poetry to our pages.