Jo Angela Edwins: “How It Feels to Be Bodiless”

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How It Feels to Be Bodiless

So often in the center of a street
a single shoe—frayed laces, fractured heel—
lies sad and inert as a dead bird,
as if he too fell from the sky and waits
like a fool for the other to drop,
but she doesn’t. Somewhere in the heavens
she dances her indie hop jauntily,
happy perhaps that her bumble-tongued mate
took at last that lonely flying leap,
lost himself in rubber-wheeled traffic,
the perfect place to bare his step-worn soul.
No one wants him now.
He will be battered by everything, elements,
Hondas, Harleys, harried pedestrians
who kick him from underfoot to save themselves
from falling in his place. He will discover
what it means to lie in the gutter.
He will, like all of us someday, understand
how it feels to be bodiless forever,
a vessel for nothing, a thing without use—
that freedom, that terrible freedom.

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About the Author: Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues, recently including Amethyst ReviewBreakwater ReviewFeral, and Thimble Literary Magazine. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and the SC Academy of Authors and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives in Florence, SC, where she serves as the poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of the state.

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More by Jo Angela Edwins:

Housewarming Party

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Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Albuquerque Light” (2021)

Jo Angela Edwins: “Housewarming Party”

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Housewarming Party

The host asks about a tree
in his new yard,
and quickly I answer,
Saucer magnolia.

The pink blooms are just now
unfolding themselves,
shy hands giving up
on a prayer.

I tell my mother’s story,
how she called them tulip trees
until my sister bought a tulip tree
to plant in our yard,

its yellow blooms nothing
like these lush pinks and violets,
its leaves dancing, opened wide
as shaken kerchiefs.

My mother wasn’t thrilled
with being corrected.
It’s what we were taught,
was all she said.

But she wasn’t cruel, merely hurt,
like so many times in her life,
like the time we corrected her spelling
of forty, laughing at the unexpected “u.”

Then my teachers were wrong!
And we chuckled and agreed.
We were her children. We were tipsy
on our young wisdom.

I leave out the sadness
when I tell the story.
But it’s there. It tastes bitter,
like the black coffee

she made instant and drank
in chipped but dainty tea cups
as she stared out our kitchen windows
at the inscrutable forest.

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About the Author: Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues, recently including Amethyst ReviewBreakwater ReviewFeral, and Thimble Literary Magazine. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and the SC Academy of Authors and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives in Florence, SC, where she serves as the poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of the state.

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Image Credit: Image from Illustrations of Himalayan plants: London : L. Reeve,1855. Courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library