ruse, by Janet Barry

what joy for a dusty brown heart beating among the cornrows? the body knows its own songs, hears the rhythm of its own slapstick comedy, its own way of mumbling about blood pulse and coupons, slices cut from fragments of brain and liver, the dark places upon which it feeds itself,

and it was just the other day that i felt my skin ripple beneath your hand, knew that the low cloud cover reflected in your eyes was only a ruse, blue peering past grey, grey bearing down on iris, optic nerve, that mysterious liquid within which our visions float and find out the truth of things, the words for everything

important, like the presence of a swallow where a horse once stood, or the time it takes to halve an apple and strangle from it its sweet juice running down our throats, or the length of sinew required to stitch a laugh together, the way we did when we stretched naked beneath an autumn sky, felt the waning sun enter our pores, speak our names, and i think now

what needs knowing most is the dance of the sparrows, hopping in and out of each furrow, dark beaks, feet of clay hardened to do the work of finding food among the refuse, and the body stopping to hear its own voice, wings lifted to perch on a still standing stalk, swaying on the wind, safe for a moment from the passing harvester.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Janet Barry is a musician and poet with works published or forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including Rock + Sling, Ragged-Sky, Off-the-Coast, Tygerburning, and the Christian Science Monitor. She has twice been judge for Poetry Out Loud, and received a Pushcart Nomination for her poem “Winter Barn.” Janet holds a BM in organ performance and an MFA in poetry.

See all items about Janet Barry

Visit Janet Barry’s contributor’s page.

Leave a Reply