A response to a challenge presented
regarding Seamus Heaney’s LIMBO
He pushed through the curtain
before I left the confessional,
thrust himself inside me
and said it was just like loving Jesus.
And I felt the drip in my knickers
as I pulled my wool around my aching breasts
knowing they’d not believe
if I told them, never Father Mike.
Now I’m here on the edge
With his wee bairn, all pale and suckly
Like the milk he’d drain from me
Without e’er a bit o’ me in him.
All Father Mike and you, Jesus,
and if that’s being loved by You
I’ll suffer hell and give
the babe to the deep.
Since Grade School
In a dark cracked mirror
My stained glass face reflected
Universal piety in an empty choir loft.
Visions appeared before me
Vaults of goodness
Chambers of quiet
Gifts of saintly insight.
Pretending a wimple
I beheld piercing eyes
That preached responsibility.
I saw a Mother Superior there
Learning and making rules her order
At that moment I rebelled against myself.
Each choice its own precipice
I dared nature, faith and fate.
With every glance in that mirror
I decided to break the rules.
Blues in the Night
The night shrieked too when I left home at last.
Those days had rocked with sock hops and nehi pops.
My sister Allie so moody, so volatile, so beautiful
had found true love. His name was Charlie.
His hair glistened over his sparkling brown eyes.
Could he dance and could he sing!
Allie played every instrument so easy then.
When they made music together the crows stopped in flight.
The summer stood still; the night was magic.
Every day Allie was calmer. She didn’t slam the door
or run outside when Daddy came in the kitchen any more.
And Momma didn’t glare and rattle the dishes and pans.
It was hot, so hot that Tuesday when an ambulance came.
They came into the house but Momma stood by while
I couldn’t find my scream and they twisted Allie in a jacket.
They hauled her out and away. So Daddy beat the table.
The crows found my voice, we heard their hollers
through open windows. With no breeze, sounds fell like hailstones.
Weeks passed and Charlie left town. Kids said he was blue.
Blue, that’s what I was too; then Allie returned,
at least her body did. She drooled and stared in space.
She didn’t know what the piano was and stumbled when she walked.
When Daddy came into the kitchen, she crept toward the door.
He continued watching her. The next night I found out why.
I heard him open my door and saw the monster she’d told me
he was. In my p.js I kicked open the window screen and ran–
I ran through the blue night, the blue wheat rows, the blue
earth to the blue train tracks and the black ties. Down and
down past black bridges until the day caught fire blazing
red in the windows of the last blue barn.
Gay Reiser Cannon
Gay Reiser Cannon
has lived all over Texas
grew up in Amarillo, long time resident
of the Dallas Ft-Worth metroplex
currently spends time in Port Aransas near
Corpus Christi. Graduated from the
University of Houston with a BA in
English Literature with particular emphasis
on British and American poetry.
Has been published in many small magazines;
has had no books published.
Taught English for several years.
Currently active as a moderator for online
Poetry Forum – One Stop Poetry
and involved in several Twitter and
Facebook forums. Has two blogsites: