Two Poems by Margaret King



TRAVELS WITH YOU (HOW THE AIR HANGS BETWEEN THE CHURCH BELL'S TOLL)


I want to spend my life traveling with you--

The hidden places, the Great River Road in autumn,

The national scenic byways,

The national parks and grasslands,

The forgotten one-room museums with creaky floors--

You know, the ones where all the best stories roost

Like Luzon bleeding-heart doves,

Patient, with blazing breasts--

The underground caves, cool in summer and warm in winter,

The grottos and folk art gardens

of the prairie madmen and northwoods mystics.


And then there’s the time at home I love, too--

Walks in the woods and along the lake

And nights in front of the fireplace

And the interior travels of our thoughts, minds, feelings, and plans.


But the memory of the aspens blazing gold in Colorado’s October

Makes me long to drive on an endless road west with you--

(why is it always west these days?!)--

And makes waiting for the next adventure

Feel like the expectation that hangs in the air

Between chimes of the church bells at 6 o’clock

As you’re hurrying up some crowded, darkening downtown street

Trying to get home.





DEAR JENNY, OUR GENES ARE STILL WILD


I’m miles above you, Jenny

But we can’t call it flying

That would imply freedom.


Hurtling through the air in a tin can

Is simply being catapulted

Propelled

Cannonballed

What-have-you.


Earth-bound land

Stitched into fields below

Implies sowing

But the corn and soybeans are sterile

Genetic hybrids incapable of propagation

Copyright this-or-that corp.


Let me tell you, Jenny,

Our genes are still wild

Not yet harvested and cowed


And so I look down

At birds who are really flying

And not just being transported

Passively like so much chattel

And I think,


“Let’s have some babies.”


I’m miles above you, Jenny,

Hurtling from one end of this country

To the other ocean.

Looking down,

Fields are stitched into the land

In quilts and crop circles


But we can’t call it flying

That would imply freedom.


Jenny, we’re getting too close to the sun

Our climate crisis the Tower of Babel and Icarus

Rolled into one.


Jenny, why can I only express myself to you

When I’m thousands of feet above the ground?

Maybe it’s the altitude

Maybe it’s the cabin pressure of last words


When I get home, I’ll tell you everything

Born of flying too close to the sun

And of how wanting to make love with you

Is born from this sense of annihilation.





Margaret King is a Wisconsin author who enjoys penning poetry, short stories, and novellas. Her recent work has appeared in Ghost City Press, Bombus Press, and Mojave He(art) Review. She is also the author of the novella Fire Under Water. Find her on Twitter: @indreni.



Photograph by Margaret King, taken in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, USA.

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