What good does it do
for a woman to go to sleep
facing the direction of her husbands
departure? And what does it mean,
to fall asleep on one side
but to wake from dreams having
turned her body to another
position. What ghost will lie
behind her and hold her breast,
assume the curve of her back,
and stir her dreams with cool breath,
lifting hair on the nape of her neck.
And what of the war to come, to follow
a husbands return, and the next cease fire?
Note: This is a custom of a certain African tribe
I am blowing
weather toward you.
I will change your lives
for better and worse.
We are married to
each other; you can-
not run away from
me. Even in death
your family may
let me scatter your
ashes. Accept me.
I will make your life
an amazing thing.
The trick to eating a
not to wait until it is too late.
The slightest "give" to the fruit
beneath the skin determining
which mango to choose
from the store or the tree.
It's like how the thumb recognizes
stress in the muscles of another back,
probing the taut trapezius, a neck
stiffened from too long at the helm
of some dinghy or raft on the river
of family and job and dreams put off.
Just so, here, hold onto this fine mango
until I can quick grab the paring knife
and cut a pirouette around and around,
from the "bottom" in a spiral to the stem,
a single, arcing ribbon of skin, rolled into
a peony of red and orange, gracing the plate
where late the juices flow, the textures fine
between the roof and tongues of our mouths.
Do you know
How far our wings
Did you know
And so the trumpet
And now, in this
© 2002 Michael Knisely. All rights reserved.
Michael Knisely currently teaches English at the University of Nebraska, in the Division of Continuing Studies, in a program called The Independent Study High School. He also teaches composition at Southeast Community College, where his students learn to tap their own lives for narratives, to analyze the media, and to persuade the most hardened of opposition. He earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of Arizona in 1989, and owes a real debt to the poets there who encouraged his own evolving voice. He has spent the past decade in Lincoln, Nebraska, being the father of a now 17 year-old son Noah, teaching in the Nebraska Artist in the Schools program in addition to his other teaching roles, and continuing to hone his skills in writing, teaching, photography, and the culinary arts. Michael can be contacted at MKnisely[AT]southeast.edu (replace [AT] with @).