Three Poems By Terese Svoboda

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Gender Skewered With Ginger Sauce

Lunching with Clinton, I don’t mention
I’m a spy. Grease stains his tie,
another something I don’t mention —

I want to protect him like the suits
bulked out around the table. I talk
about perfume, the manufacturing of,

about which I know nothing.
My chatter doesn’t matter.
I décolleté: left breast, right:

détente. Which side to spy for?
The Cold War either/or doesn’t fit
anymore, I’ve jettisoned past

clearcut confrontation,
I’m onto using perfume to dissolve
the stain and not telling Clinton

how it’s done, let alone the sitting
president. Like a smell, they waft
me away, as if I were ordered.

Somalis Call Satellites Handmade Moons

The craft aspect isn’t the first thing you think of,
but yes, each one that’s launched is custom.

1000-year sensors on this last satellite.
It’s going to Mars, vehicle-hands in supplication.

The machine will crash-land and crab
what’s left across the planet’s face,

leaving trails. Or defacing the planet — 
your p.o.v. We walk to the end of our trail in the dark,

with just the stars and the satellites as light.
We believe roads are like skies, without end,

always one more. We walk dumbly,
expecting an orbital soughing

to land Elsewhere’s moon in our path
and we’ll cut up our hands, destroying it.

Hysterical Leg

Betrayed. Saw it off. Instead,
this plank, shimmed straight,
taught taut, all its pivots

jangled, speaks leg
to me, so foreign
I point, and the able-bodied,

white-coated natives read
only sign language’s nadir,
e.g., tears. But not for meaning.

Pain, its unfathomable appendage,
drags every step. The horizon
disappears without me.

Tylenol, that pseudo-Scandinavian,
whispers — but what does he say?
The leg goes only so far.

Weapons Grade is Terese Svoboda’s fifth book of poetry.

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