Spring 2002
Volume 2, Number 1

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Mother God
Mother God come
rock me to sleep
read me the story
of your giving birth.
Feed me oatmeal cookies
baked by wrinkled hands.
Soothe me with honey-laced milk.
Fold me over
in a ragged thick quilt.
Hold my head
to your breast.
Show me the pictures
till my eyes tire
and into dreams
dance the Seven Sisters.
Kiss me then
without my knowing.
Come Mother God
put me to bed.
—Cheryl Denise, Philippi, West Virginia, is author of I Saw God Dancing, the collection of poetry from which “Mother God” comes and which was awarded first place in the 1998 West Virginia Writers Annual Spring Competition.

Baking Bread
When the news came,
her wedding band was covered with dough.

While the phone receiver dangled
she greased the pans and rolled crescents.
She imagined
him coming home still
a smile edged his face
The smell of bread filled the house.
His calloused hands
broke a roll.
Thick the butter
thin the elderberry jam,
he tore a piece
dropped it on her tongue.
A kiss melted her cheek.

While the bread blackened in the oven
she could hear her sister
knocking at the door
calling her name
the day he came back no more.
—Cheryl Denise

After Church
I wrote my first poem at sixteen,
for Kendal’s baptisms,
didn’t know what I was doing.
Poetry still feels weird.
I envy Catholic poets,
confession boxes, gold statues,
altar boys, holy water,
stained glass colors of salvation.
All I see is a smooth pine cross
hanging in this jaundiced sanctuary,
where it just seems prudent to believe.
I like to write after everyone’s gone,
with the hum of the janitor vacuuming downstairs.
I long to dance,
to cry, to lose myself,
like a wild Mary Magdalene
trying to spill her perfume.
—Cheryl Denise

Poems published by permission of author and Pandora Press U.S., all rights reserved.

       

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