the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FIVE WORKS
BY SHELLY REED

DURING A NAP AFTER WHISKEY

The mirror opens it mouth,
a paean in D minor begins.

Dolls with missing eyes
check their coifs, smooth
faded skirts with fingers
peeling porcelain flesh.

The train begins its
figure-eight journey over
imaginary track and a pile
of severed Barbie legs.

Tears fall from the mannequin’s eyes;
a monk kneels on his wooden leg
in blood flowing from the man-made woman.

Rain begins; a centipede hastens.
Death returns wearing false eyelashes
and patent leather boots.

================

POSTCARD 1
NORWALK

bolts of wedding gown fabric
spread over cornfields
brilliant as your glass eye
in a wince of moon

wish

wish you

wish you could

recognize me
in this gown of snow

================

CLAUDIA MOREAU’S FIELD OF RAINA

Today I thrive enough to walk right out
of my Ansel Adams haven
into technicolored afternoon.
This face smeared with last night,
a creased page in the book you’re reading,
a passage you’ll not revisit or recite
by heart over ale with rented friends.
Even sun betrays; the chill
of its serrated fingertips sends me
bloodied, back to Trilogy* where the sun
is black, smooth and unenticing.

* an Ansel Adams collection

================

FOR BREAKFAST

You rise and make your own paper
instead of bread,
and there’s no one to eat it.
Pens line the tray in the drawer
where silverware goes
and you stir your coffee with a red one
advertising pharmaceuticals.
There is fever in this rhythm
rocking you across pages,
through morning,
and your hands tremble
signing this covenant with text.

================

MATINEE

The pecan of my skin
has blanched
almond again,
and still,
I undress for you,
miming nights I stripped
and teased
my way
d
   o
      w
         n
your staircase
then into your denim
and genes.
Nothing is static,
not even
the length of your wand
when you confer
your sterile
magic upon me.