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Lauren Tivey
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Year of the Rabbit

 

by Lauren Tivey

 

 

Fortunetellers are smiling in the teahouse,

their cards-leaves-bones bustling

 

as predictions and traditions call for

arms reduction, a diplomatic solution

 

the gentle and peaceful, a good year

for all.  In the Middle East, grounds

 

rumble and skies screech, people

of the ancient sands, seething.  Here

 

at the temple market, animal cages

stacked, a cloud of flies, shit dripping.

 

A young girl skips by in her finest dress

holding her father’s hand.  In another hand

 

a perforated box with her new rabbit—

an auspicious token.  I go home to brew

 

a pot of coffee, turn on the news, watch bombs

rain down, and wait for the end of the world.

 

 

Among the Lilies

 

by Lauren Tivey

 

 

My liberal mother, with her bristling

Yankee blood, tolerates the South,

because certain charms, like sunshine,

 

Key lime pie, and Spanish moss, settle

in the blood, reorder the structure

of one’s cells; but also because

 

she built her life with him here,

their quarter-century marriage thriving

amid the steamy groves, bounty of flowers.

 

When the cancer takes him, she buries him

close.  Though she is cracked in half,

she arranges everything, and we flock

 

to her side.  Cemetery clerks,

with contracts, insist on scripture

for the headstone, as if such a union

 

needed to be sanctioned by anything

other than the ancient goddess of love.

We search the books, and she weeps

 

over the Song of Solomon 6:3:  I am my

beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  He grazes

among the lilies.  Later, she will lie down

 

next to him, under the sleek black stone,

with its elegant cut, genteel columns, shelter

of the oak.  People will come, clutching Bibles,

 

calling to the Lord for her salvation, chiding us

to pray for the soul and its sins.  But on that day,

with a spicy scent of blossoms in the heavy air,

and holier than any doctrine, a husband and wife

will reach for one another.  Together, they will sing

the song of the beloved, and that is all that matters.

 

 

 

 

 

Pause

 

by Lauren Tivey

 

A gentle morning in the village,

pavement cool before the tread

of feet.  Flowers blink awake

as somewhere, dogs bark, interjecting

afterthoughts to the baritone

song of delivery trucks.  We are all

pacifists at this hour, clinging to coffee

cups, nose-deep in newsprint, aware

of some vague stirring, poised

and paused, before Life, once again,

pulls on her big boots, and readies

to kick us, all day long, all over again.

 

 

 

 

Lauren Tivey is an English teacher living in China, where she spends most of her free time devising schemes to circumvent the Great Chinese Firewall.  She received a MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her work has appeared in Negative Suck, The Literary Burlesque, Blue Lake Review, Gutter Eloquence, and Snakeskin, among other publications.  Her chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas & Other Poems, was released in July of 2011 from Big Table Publishing Co.

 

 

 

 

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