Monday, March 06, 2006

Teresa Ballard

Woman At the Door

Blessed art thou, woman at the door,
strange machine, empty bed,
ringless finger.

May I call you virgin?
Sleeping wonder, dark
hall, may I call you.

Light, may I alter you
woman, wrecked.
May I?

Constant, Steady

The girl dreams without hands,
a mouth still intact. Her wrists are forgetful.

There ought to be a sign, something in the mind,
red and octagon. A noise perhaps, a clear shrill
but not a hum, please not the constant steady hum.

I’d rather have my hands than ears, my eyes than toes.

There ought to be a list—
choose what you can live without.
Blue, today blue but what of tomorrow,
what of green?

When to stop loving, to say this is enough—
I have no hands, how I am to walk?
I gave my life for the color green, my eyes are aching.

Blood and seawater have identical levels
of calcium, potassium. I am the ocean,
you do not see.

Here’s the list: 206 bones exist
in the body; half are in the hands and feet;
one for reaching, one for running away.

There’s no way to leave you.

Quiet now I’m dreaming.
It’s silly really to want more,
to think that you will wake a handless girl.

What will she do, roll over and touch your face?

Teresa Ballard’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in:
Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, The Drunken Boat, Comstock Review, Paumanok Review, Tryst, Three Candles, as well as other literary journals.

In December of 2005 she was chosen by the Mid-American Review as Editor’s Choice for The James Wright Poetry Award. She has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Award and is currently working on her first manuscript of poetry.