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Linnet Phoenix: Three Poems

Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

Sycamore Keys

Today when April’s wind
jogged through my jacket,
making me tuck my chin,
I shivered. Heart chakra
caught on a plumb line
sank back into my body.

I felt earth beneath tarmac.
The subterranean bedrock,
layers of compressed history
down to a molten core.
Surface leaf-litter emotions
scattered in eddies, dancing.

I tried too hard, for too long
running after falling petals.
Tried to catch the sycamore
keys as they, forever fallen,
obeyed gravity. Forgive me,
my failure to simply be still.

I saw your face inside the words.
Only now, I appreciate the forest.

*

Not My Job

We talked in our Zoom session.
Then she asked me to undress
my past. To take off my mask
and peel back the layers.
My innards an unfurling onion,
I submitted to her, as I do.

I let her dismantle my Lego creature,
spreading faded plastic bricks
across this rented living room carpet.
I told her how I had to accept
my mother wasn’t who I remember.
Her crushing self-righteous judgement
saying the devil is in the divorce.

How my panic spooks at the thought
of causing inconvenience to others
or in making a single mistake.
How I have been rejected by lovers
and still go crawling forward.

That my direct, blunt language
gets refracted in beams of bent light.
That my brain wires are left-handed
and I feel in ultra-violet bruises.
Then I cried because she said
she noted my kindness
in reminding her it was now 1pm
and our time was done.

*

“Is It Your Birthday”

I was night-dreaming again
as I do often.
This time we were driving
a road trip of sorts.
You were behind the wheel.
I had my legs crossed,
both feet on the dashboard
staring out my window.
The road was a dead straight
long distance stretched out
beyond a hazy horizon.
We were sitting in silence
save for the engine hum
and the gritty tyre hymns.
You told me again,
“They call it the loneliest highway.”
I hid my smile with a hand
raised to a faked yawn.
Then you said,
“Might as well get your head down.
Nothing of interest coming up.
I’ll let you know if it does.”

I pondered this a brief while,
then with a lazy smile
slid my hand across
the gap between us.
Listening for objections,
my fingers loosened off
your belt buckle,
teased your fly open,
burrowed inside.
Not even a sigh given,
calm breathing, hands
holding the wheel steady.
I stealthy unclipped my seatbelt
so my head could follow
hand into your lap.

Then I felt the twitch
as lips kissed, caressed.
I felt the warmth of blood
rising as you did.
Inside my welcoming mouth
a warm, wet cavern.
“Dirty girl”
Your only words
in contribution to this
self-created point of interest.
I don’t recall how many miles
we travelled in blissful
misadventure, but at the truck
stop, you asked if I still wanted
coffee and we laughed.

Wandering back to the car
you caught my wrist,
pulled me round to the hood.
“I’ve changed my mind.
I will have cream after all.”
Lifted me up, laid me on
top of the still warm metal.
Pulled my butt towards you
so my skirt rode up my hips,
pulled my knickers aside
and buried your face
gently between my thighs.
No time to complain.
As the sky started to spin,
a wave of pleasure hit
me. I failed to hold it in.
The truck drivers whistled,
cat calling, asking,
“Is it your fucking birthday.”
to which I replied
“I sure as hell hope so, every day”
Then, I opened my eyes.

 

(Photo credit: Linnet Phoenix)

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