American expatriate Christina E. Petrides lives and works on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. More than three score of her poems have appeared in various periodicals worldwide over the last three years. Her first children’s book, Blueberry Man, was published in 2020 by Tchaikovsky Family Books. Her website is: http://www.christinaepetrides.com
Has life boiled down
to golden goose eggs
in one basket
rush hour traffic;
a glistening slime
tired workers track
suffering acid rain?
Or do you see in weeds
crawling up from
an omen of your struggle,
a promised renaissance
despite all attempts
to blot you out?
I dreamed of walking alone at night
before the sidewalks
froze and the cold
seeped into the bones
of the buildings
and left us shivering
beside space heaters
under heavy blankets.
Then I awoke to pelting summer rain.
Resist? Resist. Resist!
Push back with all your might
against the undoing and the doing
which breed fear and death.
Seize pain’s passing lessons.
Demand its deep knowledge—
for each dislocation wring from it
a generous promise.
Downcast days can blind us
or train our stubbornness
to see flickers of light
from ancient explosions
reverberate into the future.
The curb outside my workplace
reflects my tired shadow.
I lean over the plastic caution tape
to touch the new pavement, leaving dents
too shallow to catch rain or tears.
One summer twilight two score years ago
Daddy carried me in my flannel pajamas
down to the pale backyard slab
to press my small heels and toes
beside my uncle’s wide handprint.
Granddaddy scrawled name and date
with a sticky green pine twig.
That faint impression remains after
our own irrefutable change.
I do not want to get out of bed.
Sure, there are loads of things to do,
from laundry to grocery shopping—
tasks put off from workdays.
But that would mean getting up;
going outside into the biting cold.
And I am so comfortable lying here in my pajamas.
A sabbath sun filters gently through the frosted window
and reassures me that I can nap with impunity.
There is nothing quite like a huge ice cold
carrot after a long stint listening
to warm, well-intentioned colleagues
rabbit on in meetings when you’d rather
be napping underneath a leafy tree.
Grey wolves snuffle around the box
where you nibble, innocently concealed.
Those highly-caffeinated suits
will tear you to shreds if you emerge
from your burrow before sundown.
From the Editor:
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Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
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