Cheryl Clark Vermeulen
The Suckling Leading Lady
Let’s say Homer is a woman (Shakespeare for that matter)
and an eye is burned through on a figurehead swollen with water.
Splitting across an arm or a leg, desire has fallen
or is false or passionately kissing the woman goodbye.
Adrift, at night, the streetlamps pearl. I’m here and I’m nothing
but miles and gusts of music and skin
putting on something a bit more commodious.
My face is a plaything pale and fatty. I do not rattle.
Last night, every night, I feed the babies white neurology.
My sights have widened (my heart has eyes).
Never have I provided so much comfort to anyone before.
Unraveling are the lamb’s sewn eyes. By day, the grammar
school kids will pour out and rain will clobber the umbrellas.
Language, I am ready. I am ignoring the babies.
I used to think I had no shame.
Do you want to be my friend?
I rush along sputtering
a trail of a trail of a trail
of of of—that backward cooing.
On top of it, today, an excavator
truck and my checking
for fevers through the rectum.
Pathos is a real feeler.
In each update I send out
the ambassadors of my life.
They have my face somewhat.
My argument is that they are happy.
Last night they kept crying, too cold
from a window left open. Damn
I bought a cappuccino then lost it.
If you could only see what I am working on,
a trail of a trail of a trail of a
way to batten down self-loathing.
It is a rocket ship.
I change their sodden pajamas.
The designs are rhizomatic.
In my parental thesis, all the bunnies
are plagiarized. I time the joke just right
so my babies are laughing.
Cheryl Clark Vermeulen’s chapbooks include This Paper Lantern and Dead-Eye Spring. She is an Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts at MassArt and Poetry Editor at Pangyrus. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her family.