August 2010

A. M. Houser


A. M. Houser is a freelance communications professional and book editor. She lives in Minnesota.

Coney Island Elegy / Note to Self    

The stylus stuck on the rote groove
cracks the leather-cone
trumpet note into a repetitive edge—
replayed, hiccuped, unremade.

The echo of the original is sustained in the translated rag.
If it is wring-twisted,

pretzeled, instead of a kind of vocal sac expanding,
the universe
haunts itself
with the illusion of infinite images—

is the mirrored fun-house fun? Is the confection winding
around the cone
an airy delight?

Why glaze the surface like a sugar scab
until the grimness
bottoms out

& beloved re-turns, re-turns in dream
like a distorted reverb?

To be
the ticker tape
on which grief relays
itself, and nothing else,

stuff the shock of death deep like a trinket
in a festive, be-jeweled stocking.

Then beloved will rise, a gauzy, translated text
of the foreign original

while questions paw the incline—
do you know me, remember me, recognize
my face, which in the dream is always de-faced,

as your perspective is the pretty
keeping that version alive.



Eros Delivers    

And the yellow breast
of a storm descends, hovers,
thrashes the beaded tips
of watery feathers
at our doors. Windows,
blurry like eyes dreaming;
the wipers' last long
moan. A wide crest
plunges the car into gorge.
Doors open, water courses
over our chests, our thighs,
a quivering rush, the pulse
of that immense bird.  
We wait for it to end,
for a breathful of sky.
We will know the line
between water and air.
We will kick away
the flood . . .  

A hush descends.  
Depth lulls us, presses
down our limbs, kneads
our skin. The water's dark
surface stirs, a brooding wing
over the ravine. We lay
in the yolk of the flood,
your face in mute gold,
muddy water. Suspended
there, I mouth your name:
water slides down my throat.
I reach for your waist: we slip
into a knot. We forget
the end. We are the flood.



A. M. Houser: Poetry
Copyright ©2010 The Cortland Review Issue 48The Cortland Review