Maureen Owen




In space    surface tension will force
                         a small blob of liquid     to form a sphere



O went    stiff tulle
rhythms gone haywire
Cicadas  twilling timber       beetles
at the grapevine    sultry   chewing
an almost violence in these clouds

a witness goes missing
    translucent as a porcelain
with binoculars on the future     in
her hand


Eyesight failing
her independence casts a spell
as she needs me read her B of A statement
questioning every entry   & forgetting
questions me again on same    I repeat
addition subtraction final balance date
a layer cake of confirmation
her balance after each check signed
She worries will there be funds enough
health ins medicare prescription pills
utilities for her cabin home in Truckee     where
only Holy water rising    Holy   Holy Holy water rising
no one is living now    



             

I said  “sandwich wraps”
    She thought I said  “salmon traps”



How about soup for dinner?
What kind of soup?
Chicken Pot Pie soup.
O yes!
heat soup / set table
set up oxygen
What are you doing?    she asks between breaths
Making soup.
What kind of soup?
Chicken Pot Pie soup.
O Good!
Are there crackers?
Sure thing.
It’s ready to eat.
What are we having?
Soup.
What kind of soup?
Chicken Pot Pie soup.
Take your time it’s hot.
This is good. What is it?
Chicken Pot Pie soup.





a glass of 3 cards

                          data



lip balm
tums
talking clock
stepping stool    &
rosary

grasps     a curvature confessional
its bands of   slanted bars of green
through shades        of

day breaks      you & I
on a kitchen wall       
two heads bobbing       a sea of white cotton
auburn      & grey         flounce   pillows         
     chuckling
Sandy at bed foot   
snaps our photo

now
without
staging
lighting
we seem to float
your talking clock    
your stepping stool to bed





Sediments’ looped cordage


Unable to procure even an interview   for any well paying job   
the sole support of her three children           my mother
replaced her given name   with just the first initial on her resumé
right away she got a call         When she arrived for the job interview
the two fellows were taken aback               “We didn’t know
you were a woman!         We can’t hire a woman for this work.”  
It was a timekeeper job at a missile base
My mother was sharp    intelligent       competent    They hired her

I suspect it didn’t hurt       she was a knockout too




Based in Boulder, Colorado, poet, editor, and publisher Maureen Owen is aligned with the second generation of New York School Poets. As publisher of Telephone books and Telephone magazine, she put out more than thirty titles and nineteen issues. She is the author of the seminal Hearts in Space (Kulchur Press, 1980) and American Rush: Selected Poems (Talisman House, 1998), whose latest publications are Erosion’s Pull (Coffee House) and Edges of Water (Chax Press).

Read next: Issue no. five fiction section