Russell Rowland

Opposition and Sister Squares, Chris Gavaler


 I didn’t tell Carol that it was my first.
 Carol was my first—and I did not last.
 She would later sacrifice both breasts
 to appease the wolves of metastasis,
 which took her anyway. O perpetual 
 Virgin Mary, please convey to Carol,
 in that part of Zion saved for women
 who died down here of love, of grief, 
 of childbirth, of only being feminine,
 of living with psychotic gentlemen:
 no longer premature, I feel the sun
 set upon each day, and stars appear.
 Virgo might avert constellated eyes,
 but Lilith obtains full measure now.
 I ride a wave of Sirens, as I did not
 at seventeen—though when I name
 mermaids after Carol, they withdraw,
 and I must troll the briny deep again.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.