by Cher Bibler
14 k gold
I am losing you in the echo of
the black burnt elm
Your fever drains above me I
can hear the sigh of your
tangled lungs My kisses aren’t
effective anymore I want you
to stop it now but you can’t hear
me or if you can hear you
can’t shape the sounds into words
We sit in the echo of your
A petal falls from the bougainvillea
a pale pink memory, a
paper party flower,
a moonclipped teardrop;
it is not what it seems.
We have too many secrets.
We are pressed under the
weight of the tears we don’t cry.
We fold this thought away
like too many others.
The threads of our secrets tangle in the glow
of our love, their edges unraveled,
their centers bound tight.
The leaves of the bougainvillea
tangle heartlike in our minds.
I feel as though our love is hopeless,
ill timed. My desire peaking
before yours, served only by hapless
gossip from soul to soul, pollen
dusted on their feet. Your
lust too late, your reaction too
slow. This perfect world has
arranged this to protect itself
from our love, I guess, to keep
our young from overrunning the
planet, to keep our colors hot and
unfulfilled, to keep our hunger
In this world, there is no
chance for us, we have to hold
in our feelings and pretend we
are just like the rest of them.
When my door is closed and
they can’t see me, they don’t
know what I do; they have no
idea what goes on in here.
If only I could get you here,
I could show you this
secret place; I could let
you live here a while until
their world washes out of
you and you’re clean and
whole again, but you’re afraid.
I can’t speak to you because
they’re all around, and when
I try to whisper, you back
away and pretend you’re busy.
Maybe I’ll abduct you
and prove to you there’s a better life.
Maybe I’ll capture you and
bring you home kicking and screaming.
Certainly you didn’t intend to die;
your things were left in such disarray.
promises rumpled like an unmade bed,
truths hanging bare,
love still folded,
never taken out of the package,
Better in rags
I want Prince Charming, too,
you said and I stared at you,
surprised. Why do you always
get to be Cinderella? you
wanted to know. Because I
look best in a ball dress, I
said and you told me with
a sniff, Well I look
better in rags.
I have it safe in my pocket;
you needn’t worry.
I’ve kept my secrets buried and
I can keep yours, too.
Winter may come and freeze my soul,
spring will thaw my heart,
but I won’t be careless and let it slip.
I love you too much for that.
Cher Bibler is the author of one book of poetry, California, California. She has worked as editor of Amanda Blue, a poetry magazine, and co-editor of a literary magazine, the Wastelands Review. She was a fiction reader for the Mid American Review and worked as poetry editor for the Heartlands Review. She was a book reviewer for Literary Zoo.
She was a founding member of the alternative band Tinfoil, as bass/rhythm guitarist, singer and songwriter. Over their career, they released 12 albums. One of their songs, People Don’t Know, will be featured in an indie film, Certainty, directed by Keith Mosher.
Her short story, Not Waving But Drowning, was a winner in the annual NOBS competition, and her current novel, Billie, was a finalist in last year’s (2011) Faulkner competition. Her poem, Merida, Easter, is in the current issue of The Evergreen Review.
She resides in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, is in the process of forming a new band, and serves as the content editor of In Other Words: Mérida.