Living with peacocks
Peahen, you give little clue about the gods
you birth, their magnificent boy feathers
destined to mesmerize mortals. A smudge
of green shines at your throat, your divinity
a swallowed secret. A bouquet of thin-stemmed
blue flowers sits resolute atop your head.
Otherwise, you are the hue of modesty,
a gray habit draped over a pale breast.
You have surrendered to the quiet
blessings of serving your faith. To be mother
and wife you sacrifice the ability to fly.
A slow waltz across the garden
is your silent meditation on grace.
You remain without a voice until night falls
and you muster the awkward flapping that lifts you
just out of reach of the fox still nursing
cubs in her den. Then, the noise you make
is an eerie cry that cuts through the forest.
When people first hear, they say
you sound like a woman screaming.
I am a woman
you reply, a protest
lost in language.
Impossible to Tell the Years Apart
To celebrate another birthday,
children beat candy out of a piñata.
It may look like a donkey — wide-eyed,
rainbow-striped — but it’s my heart
swinging in the open again, dangling
from a tree branch, spitting
its insides out. I pray to God
the next broomstick-wielding, blind
-folded boy is the one
who ends this game.
Leave it to a mother to dream
of love when she feels
the world shatter, to understand happy
hearts have the right amount of emptiness,
to know marriage scatters treasures
only children bend to collect.
Carolee Sherwood’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Pirene’s Fountain, Awakenings Review, Wicked Alice, The Mom Egg, Glass: A Journal of Poetry and Ballard Street Poetry Journal. For three years, she was part of the creative team that produced the online magazine and social networking site “Read Write Poem.” Currently, she co-edits Ouroboros Review and writes reviews for Poets' Quarterly.