Toward The Waterfront
To be too at the mercy of human interactions makes it difficult to be a student of human interactions. I want to be the soft hand of Marlon Brando, heartbroken, softly pushing the gun away. Because I want to be that much man and that much woman all together- I need to have the power to punch through the window to unlock the door and also to be able to softly, softly push the gun away. He would be as I would be - someone's pet - but I mean dangerous pet – exotic, a lion in the house. When you turn and give a dirty look, I'm too at the mercy I've been all my life too petalish not lionish enough. I've got to become in part that part of Marlon Brando that is so hard as I feel right now the part of Marlon Brando that is so heartbroken, so terribly soft.
In the Middle
I awoke in the middle.
Apple trees were rooted visibly,
rotting apples and new ones
amid exposed, numerous roots.
The smell of rotten apples and new ones
was heavy and sweet or light and sweet
depending on the wind. When the wind stopped,
the smell dropped in and was heavier.
Though I knew
the farmer could appear,
I knew, along with this,
that I was quite alone.
in the way of birds
listening to other birds,
with nothing lurking.
My mother said instantly,
though I thought I was alone,
always pretend you're a tiny animal.
You are prey.
You should be alert
in the natural way
when you are alone.
I considered her and went half back
to being myself-
my legs beginning to chill,
my back against the knotted trunk,
the sky holding onto its blue
in the late afternoon-
Dining With The President
What death is, for one thing, is not enough food. I am not dead. I am dressed for dinner. How Eva Braun to be in this dress, bright and floral, to be wearing this turquoise necklace, to have smoothed hair and coral lips. Like her, I've wanted beautiful moments. Unlike her, I hunch over my plate. The legions of dead offer us their food. These aren't vegetarian meals. This isn't aesthetic eating. If I weren't so hungry, I could dish out seconds for him; pass over half of my dessert. With his mouth is full of pistachio halva with Persian honey (bee keepers dead, their bees, our bees dying or dead) while his mouth is full of something expensive and sweet, I could have some sway. I might persuade him out of his blind spot. But my greed is unified with his greed. I am an abomination in a suburb of same faced abominations, in a cosmopolitan streetscape of same faced hunger, in a pastoral field alone in my greed only because no one else is around. This companionable avarice, how on earth to give it up?
She worries about a horse charging past.
She would be able to stand as it approached,
the earth changing fast under its hooves,
the body slick, enormous.
She wouldn't flinch.
But even if she thought in quiet,
long after the horse had gone
shrinking up over the hill,
she wouldn't know that
the body of the dream of God
came close enough to graze her.
Laura Cronk has published poems in Barrow Street, Conduit, LIT, Lyric, McSweeney's, No Tell Motel, and other journals. Poems anthologized in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel and Best American Poetry 2006. She is co-curating the Monday Night Poetry Series at KGB Bar in Fall 2007 and lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.