a poem by Kate Gale
Went to Mexico. Curved sweet tequila light. Lay on blankets on the beach, washed our mouths in the morning. Ate olives with sunshine. Avocados. Street vendors sold popsicles. If someone had a hotel room, we all showered. Our spectacular young bodies curved under water. Our breasts moons. The room was white stone. We would start with beer in the afternoon. Hit the cantinas in the evening. My friend would find weed and Lily would breathlessly come back to my table and say, Katie, I’ve found you a dyke, the cutest one in Mexico. We would begin shots, chased with lime, tomato juice, the whole evening a tremulous tequila bubble. They played our rock music in Spanish. My boy would dance with me while Lily and I kissed the girls one right after another. Mexico was like that. When I arrived blue, I would find a blue world. Time moved the craziest of clocks. Stretched on sand we waited for the end of loneliness. Night flies, gulls and beyond them the sea. The sea spoke low sweet Spanish we could almost understand. That was when I noticed what I liked best about you was that you kissed like a girl, looked at me like a girl, danced like a girl; the mescal was thick and smoky, your thin arms came up around me as the sun rose. You said, I’ll be whatever you want me to be.
Kate Gale is the Managing Editor of Red Hen Press. Author of several books of poetry including Mating Season and Fishers of Men, a novel and librettos, she received her PhD in Literature from Claremont Graduate University and speaks widely on publishing, editing and writing. Her Opera Rio de Sangre with composer Don Davis is being released as a world premiere at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee in 2010. To contact Kate and to find out more about her writing go to her blog at http://kategale.wordpress.com/
Administering My Dog’s Cancer Therapy I Think About My Sons
a poem by Cati Porter
My thumb and forefinger pinch a pill as I thrust my fist
back into his throat. His teeth, a bracelet of blunt
tines, rake gently over my wrist.
I pull out my hand sticky with his saliva
and hold his mouth closed
and stroke his neck
until I am certain he has swallowed.
At seven years old he is two years older than
my oldest son. He is my oldest son,
I tell myself, but of course, he is not.
He is just the dog, I remind myself daily,
because, if he were my son,
I would okay the endoscopy, biopsy
the lining of his stomach. I would make the drive
into the next county for intravenous chemotherapy.
Once he ate reluctantly from my hand chicken breasts
boiled for him on my stove. If he were
my son, I would not hand-feed him
the breasts of dead chickens. I would slice
off my own, boil them
pink to white in my very best pot.
I would shred them, feed them to him
warm, if only to keep him through the night.
Winner of the 2006 Gravity & Light Poetry Competition, first appearance in the anthology White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood (Demeter Press/York University, Canada), and reprinted in my book Seven Floors UP.
Cati Porter is the author of Seven Floors Up (Mayapple Press, 2008) and small fruit songs: prose poems (Pudding House, 2008). Her poems appear in the recent anthologies Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel — Second Floor (No Tell Books), White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood (Demeter Press/York U., Canada), and Letters to the World (Red Hen Press). She is associate editor for Babel Fruit, and founder & editor-in-chief of Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry. After ten years of childrearing, she has returned to school and is currently pursuing her MFA through Antioch University, Los Angeles. To contact her and find out more about her writing go to her web address at firstname.lastname@example.org