Knocking Knees

Two poems
by Taylor Leigh Ciambra
 
MICHELLE AT MIDNIGHT
 
The wooden spoon rubs against my calloused hands
and I think there is no other way
to tell her what I am feeling
The nutmeg blends in with my summer skin
and the dark chocolate is melting in its plastic bag
despite the whir of the overhead fan
Today she got on a plane and lives down the street from me
like she always did, until she grew up
and all I can do is keep stirring
Folding questions into the oatmeal and butter
cracking two eggs between my fingers
I ask them in their oozing omniscience
How can I love someone so much and not see them everyday
How could I allow myself to become amnesic to
The way our knees knocked together at yellow lunchtime chairs
or the way my hair knotted in her fingers at midnight sleepovers
She speaks in the same babbling brook cadence she always has
mispronouncing words I don’t dare tease her about anymore
The kitchen timer ticks and tocks counting down to a time where
I was flat chested and she had a broken leg
Ears aching as I listen to the same
recycling of dreams and fears
I am cutting boundaries between the spread out cookies
When she asks
will no one ever love us the way we love each other?
 
I STOPPED WONDERING IF I LIKED YOU OR IF I LOVED YOU
 
I stopped wondering if I liked you or if I loved you
when you told me about the priest stealing your underwear
when you told me about the laps you had to run around the gym
when you told me about the nuns who probably knew
and slapped their rulers at You instead of Him
No
you told him
i believe i said no
we both had to believe
you said No
Rage boiling faster and hotter than the tea kettle on the stove
I watched for a moment, the snow outside
How gently it swirled that December night
like a blessing
like love would not shatter my heart
like the world would feel safe again
The dancing shadows grew sinister on the freshly waxed floor
my heart
it broke
Pouring everything I thought was true into my stomach
innocence consumed by acid
with the nauseous understanding that
Monsters ruthlessly combed your duck blonde hair
before I could even know you
even think of protecting you
even love you
yes
i told you
yes
I love you
 
—————–
Taylor Leigh Ciambra is a writer, poet, and theatre artist based in Connecticut. Her recent work can be read in Otoliths issue #43, the winter 2016 edition of Olentangy Review, TheTrek.co, and FeministWednesday.com. To read more of her work check out: tlciambra.wordpress.com
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Published by

17numa

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott is a member of The Southern Collective Experience; he also serves as an editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press, The Blue Mountain Review, The Peregrine Muse, and Novelmasters.

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