Four Poems by Christine Scanlon

You are on Easy Terms with Your Crash Test Life

she sees the bird and laughs
almost bites her tongue

all musty painted– stunted stunned
a growth of meaning has become a cancer
a dialectic that is apoplectic
glistening as she crawls to her point

a bird in the mirror ripens
the cracks in the walls are like the
cracking of her jaw
her teeth resemble tiny minutes

in her rooms large and small
cluttered and empty
warm and fragmented
she is almost blind
and her tongue
the bird and her bliss are disclosed

when she is almost unclothed
ah– the pussy of the sands
with her eyeballs ripening.

Inspired by lines from Emily Dickinson’s poem #507

Babies and Breadwinners

her smile shaped like other smiles
relaxed and retired
is reminiscent of tranquilizers in the way
her dimples run down each side

a plastic face and surreal
pantomimes work-a-day admonishments
she hoists herself along
carrying the laundry
singing like a mosquito

the convulsive threads of her song
breaking back into Formica

A Malleable Environment

no aspirations to fancy architecture
or an even hemline
but to the use of good manners
to manipulate and become
the dish that is just right

Goldilocks said this right before she was all gobbled up
sucked into the bright blight

I wish my environment was a bit more
hothouse and less de-loused
if I could forget myself and look charming
as I walk across this stage of my life…

if you look in the mirror at your clothes
and they seem to be
and admit they are
your clothes–angry or loveable
then you can finally forget yourself

for good


The nocturne nature
of my
quakes and shuffles
has precipitated
my shut in life

falling into the pattern
of a yawn
to stay there
deep and secret
like an animal or almond
hitched to the horse
of one idea

inhabiting all
the horny parts
of your body

Christine Scanlon is the author of A Hat on the Bed, published by Barrow Street Press (2005), and has poems most recently in Bort Quarterly, andWhite Stag. She is also co-curator for the Brooklyn reading series, Readings in Color.