Peggy Aylsworth is a retired psychotherapist living in Santa Monica,CA. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Beloit Poetry Journal, The MacGuffin, Poetry Salzburg Review, White Rabbit (Chile), New Contrast (So.Africa), forthcoming in The Wallace
Stevens Journal. Her work was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize.
1. Magenta velour in folds against
A room filled with artifacts. Can
The woman returns, collapses
What comes. Is it North? Am I
She writes on long pages of rough
against the grain, the grief. An open
2.Press on. Push one. Touch Open.
Oh. Zero. One. Zero. One. One. One. Oh!
Touch & go. Touch & print. Touch & save. .
Time. Click. Time. Click. Time. Click.
Did you? Did you not? Did you?
Punch the hole. Punch the slot. Five o’clock.
3. After the phone call, he noticed
how the words
unhooked from the names, left
a present of the actual. Of
Not about. Clear as the yellow
even on Friday with certain
At 4:30 p.m. To be. Exact. If dinner,
THE TASTE OF AIR
Enter the word today. Too simple
to be understood,
like a foot or
finger, the veins
of a leaf. A child took me by the hand
“Eat the snowflake,”
she said, her clear
I ate, sat with her in the snow
untouched by cold
though our feet
Is it what comes upon a midnight clear?
discover the skin is warm; the knife
to the bone.
Bereft, as when a child has died,
What is today?
THE CONTINGENCIES OF AND
If a day is filled with laurel
trees and palm, why would
a woman run? The pursuer
might be filaments of rain
or helicopters swallowing the wind,
their talons greased for prey.
He made the acquaintance of nights
he was compelled to pass without sleeping.
Leaves folding out of season
can blue-beat the haggard mind.
To make too much from out-of-order
puts disaster in the midst of Spring.
She discovers in standing still
solutions, though like baskets,
continual dripping leaks to doubt.
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, world-sorrow age-old anvil wince and sing.
It has been said, no one can claim
he is not a swine. To wince…
but how to sing? Listen! The night sky
sounds white notes with spiral pulse.
A STORY ENDING WITHOUT CHOICE
Your eyes close in the guise of sleep.
Darkness doesn’t narrow the gap.
A rote of prickles shift left and right.
Your daughter turns belief into
the righteousness of sun, as water
drains from invisible cracks.
A dream of nettles under the bare feet.
This is someone’s blood. Blame
hangs in mid-air, waiting to dry.
This harm you claim, presses
its way against your skin, certain
as history, crimping the mind.
To view the latest issue of In Parentheses please check out our Archive.