Lee Gould

Lady Finger

Picture your knuckles – wrinkled, more
square than round, split nails, age-spotted claws

blue with cold . . . and now suppose you close
one in a car door, gash a ragged crescent . . .

the stitches scab and fall, the skin peels, the fractured
bone heals into a shapely half-almond,

the newborn skin pinkly blossoms
as though you prefer milk to scotch, and the nail

hardens, centered in its bed, a purple
map shows the route from Canada to Guatemala,

and an ache arises – to strum, to fondle.
You retrieve your grandma’s opals, her giant topaz,

the antique gold snake, its ruby eyes behold
your lickerish finger – adorable! Pointing,

wiggling – her whole new life ahead.

                      Women and Environments, Winter 2011

Who is my Muse?

The lyric soprano, all bosom and alabaster, in her Empire nighty?
the half-shaved tenor, so hairy, so manly
in his glittering armor?

His magic sword shattering
unwomans me. Or
is it Sieglinde?
Fat Wotan swears to punish his errant daughter –

but what’s that snaking around my lyre tree?
4 foot 8, bulbous hips, eyes unblinking –
a Rose?
            by another name

Mother –

            For crying out loud, imagine
            that jerk hollering to beat the band,
            who can sleep in all that racket?

but now she sleeps, all knobs and curves and string.
I lie awake. Don’t touch it, the air says, it’ll break.

                      Women Writers of the Hudson Valley (in press)

Exchanging Mothers for Horses

A backlit horse crashes
through the kitchen window,
shards flutter like iridescent mayflies
its face is framed
in the sash – portrait of a winner, bewildered -
did I say there was no blood?

On the grass beyond, a statue –
a woman reclining clasps her handbag
against her patterned dress, her veiled pillbox
perches on her head as though
she were standing. I know art, I say,
but I can’t remember faces.

The rest of the horses startle,
their chestnut manes sun-struck, rippling –
the woman, like a giant balloon,
drifts vertical, bobs off
down the airy street leaving me
with my brother Absalom hanging by his hair.

                      Literary Gazette, 2011

About the Author

After teaching at Goucher College, Lee Gould retired to the Hudson Valley where she continues to teach and write. Her poems, essays and reviews have appeared in: Quarterly West, the Gay and Lesbian Review, The Berkshire Review, Bridges, Chronogram, Passager; in England in Magma and Blithe Spirit; in Canada in Women and Environments and other journals. Poems have been anthologized in: Burning Bright, Passager Press; Still Against War, Poems for Marie Ponsot; Women Writers of the Hudson Valley (in press). Her chapbook Weeds was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010. She also curates ArtsWalk Literary, an annual two-day reading series dedicated to poetry, fiction and memoir in Hudson, New York.

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