I gazed up only
as choppers whipped the
tops of towers
with smoky tails.
Also, when a bird
spat out angry
tar between her teeth,
beak brittled and cracked
by the bleak.
I looked down about
streetmen and their things,
fingers gripping cups
of dust and plates
of chew,  and tiny
crosses with
translucent strings.
Trapped stars were
encrusted in lashes
of grubby child or
mother bone dry.
Upon their wrists:
small red sashes of
bites from fleas
and fitful scratches.

On the plain open
midwest palm
my trailer rusts,
me embellied.
Talking tin, then
tasting wind,
a life not so hard
Through the swaying
midnight door I pull
an eyelash off a star.


1.  Change Your Scenery

Never mind the salt,
Your eyes are dolphin-clean.
As smooth and as trusting.
If the water crowds you
Dive for that clear nearing jellyfish
And blow it like balloon.
It may lift you.

2.  Enact Ritual

This was how I taught my sister to fly
As my mother taught me:
lie on the carpet, raise the baby
on her plumpish stomach,
her little paws flat on palms,
her little mewing face raised;
soon, drop the limbs,
she remains suspended
until she looks down
and puts forward a foot.

3.  Imagine You Are Someone Else

Listen to the stories of strangers—
Your ears turn sponges, your face a palate,
New voices stick to your cheeks.
Peel them off,
Fill the membrane with your old selves
It may lift you.

4.  I Will Teach You

Will you touch this spine in the small spaces?
Notice how it curves an elephant's trunk:
washes its back,
drags the dirt,
curls around you.
Fly with the push of my breast and the
Bend of my back.
My cold feet are balancing a cloud or
A fledgling you.







apocryphaltext Vol. 3

Louisa Spaventa teaches English at Austin Community College and is at war with text speak. She loves to make electronic dictionaries pronounce dirty words, and she champions the opossum. Louisa believes in the pageantry of poetry. Most recently her work has appeared in Coconut, Barrelhouse, and No Tell Motel.


2 poems by louisa spaventa