Slipstream Issue 22  I s s u e  2 2

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Poetry

Stamford    by Janet Goldberg
Her Knees Pulled In   by Elizabeth Jacobson
Mary Ellen Mark: Photo of Teenaged Girls at Brighton Beach   by Gerald Locklin
Mosquitos   by David Chorlton


 




Stamford
By Janet Goldberg

A long time ago
A man drowned
In Rippowam Swamp
Behind our house.
Neighbors say
They can still hear
His screams, still see
Those thick green bubbles.
That an Oriental woman rose
From her bed and cracked
Her husbandís jaw.
That one night
On Brandywine Hill
A bat dreamed
Of caves and fruit and cows
In the silver bed
Of a womanís hair.
That a man chopped up
A copperhead with his shovel
And it grew back
And wiggled up his driveway.
My brother said these woods were haunted.
We swung our bags side by side.
We only stopped for four-leaf clovers
Then turned our bags upside down.
We loved the smell of fresh cut grass,
Our ghost rippling behind our backs.


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Her Knees Pulled In
By Elizabeth Jacobson

One to each shoulder
above each breast

her knees pulled in
her spine curved

the rocking part
of a rocking chair

his sex sitting
on top of hers

two people out
of their peopleness.

The dog of their joining
takes little bites from

the space that is quiet.


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Mary Ellen Mark: Photo of Teenaged Girls at Brighton Beach
By Gerald Locklin

little bras and cut-off levis.
all that midriff, all that tan.
not a wrinkle anywhere.
and, in the eye, instinctual italian savvy.
so casual about each otherís bodies,
and the way the older sisterís
legs are crossed.

no wonder young men go to jail for them.
no wonder that our laws and vigilance
seem not to postpone long their doing
what we once did naturally.

they are at the fleshy apogee;
a moment later it is past.

we civilize ourselves out of existence,
and the less civilized replace us.


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Mosquitos
By David Chorlton

With his radio tuned to news
a listener alone in the early hours
gazes at a comet
through his window.
The feeling drains

from his feet. He pours a bowl of hot water
and takes off his socks.
War has broken out in a country
he cannot place. Aspirin is helpless

against his headache. He wants explosives
to break the dam
behind his eyes. The president
is crushing grammar between his teeth
and the listener cries out
for a flood

to wash away the concrete
that blocks his senses,
a cleansing flood
that rushes down from the mountains
scented with pines. He looks out
at the stars, but cannot hear

the mockingbirds. Financial markets
are falling in a trail of light.
The sky sparkles. He just sits
and is numb

to the bite of mosquitoes
who go back into the night
each with a drop of his blood
glowing inside them.


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