Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kathleen Rooney


Ambulatory sisters—
sister somnambulists—
sorority of sleep-hikers—
we are crossing a bridge.
We’ve crossed our uncle
& our fiancés will be cross,
but we’ve got a long list,
a lot of items to cross off.
We’ve crossed ourselves
with the sign of the cross
& we are crossing the span
to the island of Valdares.
Birds squawk aubades
with Portuguese lyrics &
cocks throw their crows
from yard to dirty yard.
Fishermen throw nets
into murky waters. Sister
sleep-walkers, we won’t
wake yet. The new church
they’re building looks like
a ship, or a Bishop’s mitre.
As the sky gets lighter,
I tell Beth, it’s beautiful.
She says, be careful—
the magic hours, twilight
& dawn, are the best times
to get beaten, raped, or robbed.
As the street-lights flick off or on,
your eyes adjust poorly to changes
in motion. It has to do with
the rods & cones in your eyes.

We are still over the river.
Can it ever be crossed?
I pop the G out of bridge
& drop it in the bay. I say
bride aloud. G is for groom,
but R is for Rooney & R
is for room. This is not
a western. This is not
a noir. Our grooms don’t
know where we are. All four
of our eyes are closed, but
I see Beth smoking, alone,
in the cone of a streetlight.
Kathy, she takes me by
the shoulder. She shakes me,
Did you listen? I’m just
the stenographer, but Beth,
the photographer, knows all
about the difference between
man’s light & God’s light.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press. Her first book is Reading With Oprah (2005), and her poems have appeared recently in AGNI On-line, Small Spiral Notebook, and Smartish Pace. Her essay "Live Nude Girl" appears in Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers (Random House, 2006).