Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet whose new work is forthcoming in Escape Into Life and Spillway. She has been previously published in Boxcar Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review, Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, Redwood Coast Review, The Sand Hill Review, Southern Humanities Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and ZYZZYVA, as well as the anthology First Water: Best of Pirene’s Fountain and Diane Lockward’s book, The Crafty Poet.
It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (24 Cocktails)
A guy walks into a bar.
The Singapore Sling is
in full-swing. He spies
a voluptuous white Russian,
downs a shot of liquid courage;
the thrumming rum pulls
him toward the eye of her storm.
Leaning in, he whispers:
How ‘bout some sex on the beach?
Never one to miss the makings
of a screaming orgasm,
she quickly hails a cab,
checkered as her past.
A bowl of scorpions
in backseat flame & writhe.
The coast is everclear.
Deep mudslide kisses
crash over his brain.
She’s hankering to nuzzle
his fuzzy navel, to unleash her
hot pink squirrel.
Linger awhile, my gimlet, thou
art so fair. Sweet seduction
scatters like paper umbrellas &
empty matchbooks. She flips off
her silk Japanese slippers; his
cotton cabled sweater unravels
on a rusty nail. Naked
surfers with salty dogs
ignore the flock of grey geese
overhead. Kamikaze sake bombs
go off all night, shimmering
on an absinthe sea. A tequila
sunrise surprises their ripened eyes,
waking to the call of a mockingbird.
Dusk at Mt. Diablo
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
~ Oscar Wilde
The drive to Devil’s Mountain takes only half an hour.
Everyone agreed, including his killer, he was a beautiful boy.
Visitors should plan to be in their vehicles before sunset.
All her life she was quick to flame and smolder.
Note typed. Animals euthanized. Biding her time.
They hiked a short trail to Lookout Point. She snapped his photo.
The darkest hours can pass in daylight.
She hated her ex-husband more than she loved her son.
A starless sky still shines as bright.
Three bullets when one would have been enough.
Years pass. We shelve our rage.
Throats of crows caw and scatter – the beat of black wings carries over the valley.
If only she had shot herself first.
I am growing thick in the middle again,
an avalanche over the waistband.
Those pounds I strong-willed away,
unwelcomed back into newly upholstered
cells. A scale is unnecessary. Last summer’s
clothes now grab my breasts and thighs with
graceless but determined ardor.
My corduroys brush and spark.
Strict exceptions become the reckless rules.
The last pastry or bread slice becomes a second
or third. What am I trying to feed?
How I green-eye marvel at those women
who sit straight-backed and cross-legged in simple
chairs, effortless as their unlabored breathing.
My lumbering limbs wince and blush.
Such slender tenderness my body has
never known. Where to rest when your nest of
skin feels cold as wintergreen dusk? I think
of my parents riding under the weight
of themselves, careening down
demented diabetic roads, bread-crumbed days
spent wiped and bathed as their bodies surrender
to decades of excessive hunting and gathering.
My sleep plays hopscotch, each night falling
further from the last. I’ve lost count of the recurring
dream where a black bear, rearing full height upon
its hind legs, swings inadequate claws at a
half-hearted moon. All through these nights
of humorless stars, I hear bits of life cry out, each
skating their separate darkness: a heron’s snapped wing,
a loon’s lonely wail, my burdened bones.
(“Double Helix” was first published in Gargoyle, Issue 60, Summer 2013)