Aimee Nezhukumatathil Oct 10, 2008 16:01:21 GMT 2
Post by thepoetslizard on Oct 10, 2008 16:01:21 GMT 2
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo 2007), winner of the Balcones Prize, and Miracle Fruit (Tupelo 2003), winner of the ForeWord Magazine Poetry Book of the Year and the Global Filipino Literary Award. New poems appear in Antioch Review, FIELD, and American Poetry Review. A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, her poems have been anthologized in several collections, including Poetry 180 by Billy Collins and Language for a New Century from WW Norton. She is associate professor of English at SUNY-Fredonia where she was awarded a Chancellor's Medal of Excellence.
"The Girl in the Outfield"
I am the girl in the outfield. I’m the one allergic
to grass. I am the girl in the outfield. I sit
along the third base line and squint
for the pin stripe of your pants,
my tiny reflection in your sunglasses. My clap
will be the loudest of all the painted wives.
I am the girl in the outfield. I’ll be here
through the night while you practice
your pitch. When you tamp each base bag
with your metal cleats, I am the puff of dust
and sand. I am the knock of wing against
each streetlamp. I am the girl in the outfield.
And you are the slam and the run. Sometimes you
are the glove and the bat. You catch all the quiet
between hits or the slide of a shoe across chalk.
I am the girl in the outfield. Our son is the roar
of the absent crowd, and that makes us a triple play.
My hair is a stitch. Come home, come home.
(originally appeared in MiPoesias)
"Four Amulets for a Frightened Farmer"
The white square stone found inside an eel’s head. Dry it, and roll it in your hand. Can you hear the tinny music of the bone? Beetles you have never seen before will beg you to stop. They wind their legs in protest.
On a moonless night, leaves point skyward and you may see whole devils tripping over themselves just to peel into this fruit. Watch out for the cleft of their pointy chins.
The large snakes have a nail concealed under their tails. Break it off while the snake is still alive and place it under your tongue. Speak slippery syllables of a language you once forgot.
When someone is burned to death, find a crispy calculus from that spot. Let the spirit of the crawling stone shake your pocket. You will be so rich.
(originally appeared in Indiana Review)
Five weeks and you still feel the tang
of the knife at your side—
the stitch of summer sewn
back into your belly.
In the dark, the baby
blinks his eyes at you.
Of course you cannot sleep. Thirty-two hours
of labor and all you want to do is eat.
The nurses allow you only
meat broths thinned with water, but for dessert:
an orange popsicle. You learn to love
this lonely time of night. The frozen crush
in your mouth slams you into a driveway
and suddenly, you are nine again. Your dad bursts
onto the scene with a box
of double stick-delights:
cherry, lime, grape. Your friends juice
into frightful clowns with colored swollen lips.
You, too, are a clown. Baggy pants and a ruffle
of spit around your neck. Your trick is to carry
a bucket. Pretend it is full of water. How did
you get to be a mother? Pretend.
You will do lots of pretending. Anything to make
the audience think they are about to be splashed.