Fiction - The Grey Area, Absinthe Literary Review

by Marnie Bullock Dresser

Taliesin Stray Cat

Mr. Wright would not approve, I donít think,
of this garish calico, a mama cat who birthed
her mismatched kittens in a vast hearth
built from local limestone, hand-hewn blocks.

Better a plainer cat, all black or maybe gold
to complement round, Cherokee-red chairs
in the theater, to shed the right color of hair
on the abstract curtainís primary swatches.

But not this scrawny, motley girl who stands
proudly for real in realism, who knows
the secret ins and outs of Taliesin so well,
no one can find her when she hides.

Having done Baseball and the Civil War,
Lewis first and eventually Clark, Ken Burns
has turned his gaze on Frank Lloyd Wright,
and what heís seen inspires me, frankly.

If I were Mr. Wright, I would not be myself,
my full self, not quite yet. At thirty-three I would be
on my way to losing all I loved
as preface to the greater gain, the big eclipse,

my long life, in which Iím the only genius.
The vision and the passion, they are mine,
so when I see a cantilever married
to a living tree, I rightly claim fidelity

for mine. Walt Whitman on the wall?
Thatís scriptural. Thatís me. And finally warm,
needy, maternal, out of placeósomehow
what wanders in and out is also who I am.

Map for the Rapture: The Flood of í93

The vas deferens starts
in Minnesota. You can step
across it there but farther

south youíre forced to leap
from the levee into the arms
of a handsome Coast Guard captain.

You feel compelled to marry him.
Tell your children and grandchildren,
ďHe said heíd drop me otherwise.Ē

Your mouth on the mouth of the river,
your Gulf of Mexico accepting the skyís
offering. No permanent damage there.

The Three Faces of God

I.       Have you heard the one about the Trinity?
Turns out God has M.P.D. Muttering
ďthe people, the people,Ē banging the glass,
cutting his hand. The trauma that fractured
Jehovah was us, of course, but so early on
it was clearly self abuse on his part.
Humor, like a stencil, laid on nothing,
painted over. Another sort of drag queen.

II.     The need to joke about something so holy
starts as a pinhole of panic and grows
to a sinkhole lined with eternity.
A black hole in outer space. How can three
be one? How can two? Could God be divorced
from God or not? Would he if he could?
Likewise, and importantly, could I from you?

III.   Batter my heart, three-personed God,
see if I care. I donít even know who
Iím praying to. The crashing water sound
under the footbridge helps me assume.
If I say our river runs with Guinness Stout
because itís brown and foams, is it true?
And if Iím certain that someone is listeningó
is it you? Is it you? Is it you?


© 2004 Marnie Bullock Dresser

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