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  Beth Cato

Published on: 8/21/2013
The Rainbow

after the rain
world slick with afterbirth
all I see is a day ruined
a Saturday lost, a bicycle unridden

but my grandmother, she
swept a gnarled hand through the sky
snared a fractured rainbow on her finger
she pried apart the strands
color by color
braided them together
then knotted them in a loop
creating a necklace to drape
against my chest

the threads soft as spider silk
between my fingers, and yet
it smelled of fresh earth and new promises
that gleam in the
faintest beam of sun

a thousand Saturdays
threaded into seven colors
resting against my heart

Published on: 8/19/2013
in case you forget

I have sown my name within your palm
yours is sown in mine

my journey is long
yours is shorter, and more cruel

when you curl your fingers, the welts
will press into you as a reminder
that will last long after the meanings
of those letters crumble within the
brittle winds of your mind

long after this curse has eroded the sepia
of your memories into restless shadows
those scars will tell you something—
something you can't quite grasp
but you can feel against your fingertips
that you can stroke as you stare at the blankness
beyond the window and struggle to attach words
to trees, birds, and yourself

when I return with the cure
my welts will tell you of the journey
of how the ship rocked and skies wept
of the blisters that melded leather and skin
of how every step was worth it
to see that flare of recognition in your eyes
my name fumbled upon your lips

the scars of our palms will meet
and in time
we will choose

Published on: 8/14/2013

a bird's wing
lies beneath a bush
in my front yard

that bird
spread wide both wings
in severe embrace of
callous asphalt

the body long gone
ingested by
the street sweeper
not a smear remains

by some miracle
the wing escaped
as if somehow
this tattered triangle
remembered how to fly
fluttering fifteen feet
to rest, here
as if it were a bird entire
seeking bugs beneath
the shelter
of these branches

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