Two poems · Kirby Wright

The Woman in the Black One Piece

She crosses legs on the lounge chair,
rests the book on her belly.
She smoothes lotion
over arms and shoulders.
Funny how skin learns
pink instead of copper.
Men sleep in Speedos
on the other side of the pool.
She knows she's invisible
even to the man wheeling
a canvas cart, filling it with towels.
She contemplates the pool—
her pain goes deeper
than twelve feet under the board.
Axes have swung at her soul.

No Lifeguard on Duty,
Swim at Your Own Risk.

She treats the wounds
with fantasy and chocolate.
She hears newlyweds
giggling inside the Jacuzzi
and recalls the aftermath
of a bedspread
beside the picnic river.
The morning of stained glass promises
she believed, she really believed.
She slips on her glasses
and arrives at a Tuscan villa.
An Italian with a mustache
parachutes into the heroine's life.
She studies a sky too blue,
too deep to be real.

Insomnia Birthday

Insomnia means being alone, exiting your bed
Incognito before your lover wakes up.
You can't force the Sandman to deliver, it's
Not like pizza. Insomnia is the place
Where things keep on working in darkness.
Streetlights complement moon, planets, stars,
Lighting sidewalk where nobody walks.
Why not last one home on block turn the lights off?
Natural and artificial combine to highlight
Wet streets, trees, even veins in my leaves.
Under moon, dog rolls over in doghouse,
Moans in his dream. Refrigerator starts purring
When its thermostatic brain says keep the
Cake cool. Is newspapergirl rubberbanding
My morning news? VCR blinks the seconds blue,
Same pace as my heart. On Entertainment
Center, birthday cards review my years in
Recycled paper. Books flex titles on mantle.
Candles on diningroom table are at the ends of
Their wicks. Train from San Jose whistles, picks
Passengers in the donut twilight. Candy canes
Stand in the basket where the houseplant died.
I never get sleepy until that first bird chirps,
When the violet light challenges streetlamps.
Tires make revolutions in drizzling streets.
Will newspapergirl remember the weather,
Wrap my news in plastic? Even when the paper
Gets wet, I never complain. Have you seen 4 a.m.
After a big rain? That's the best time to catch
Your neighborhood ghosts walking the blacktop.
You'll see them congregate under the streetlights,
Execute their march, then stop to reflect in the water.