TRUE CONFESSIONS VARIATIONS - Quentin James Reynolds Poems


Poems » quentin (james) reynolds » true confessions variations


Ysidro calls me at night, meeya carra. his big
blonde bean, and slides his moustache across my
neck. he's dark, and like I imagine his country,
flat and arid, face a painted clay pot drying
on the windowsill, on his lip, trails a snake
with black twisted rattles. he asks me about
my youth, and I tell him like the others, that
they said I would never amount to anything. be
cause of my size mostly, that I was a big American
girl. raw and wide I sent away from catalogues,
for plastic barrettes shaped like musical notes, and
Cuban heeled shoes. I was dreamy too, and once
painted my naked body like a guitar, with metal
frets and silver strings. he caught lizards and
tamed them, and saw an orange blister ripped sun.
its aurora looked liked yellow music, and his eyes
narrow as he plucks it from my stomach.

I had Matthew from the first marriage, when I
was sixteen. we would huddle in a striped mattress
that was split in the seams, and I thought of
my husband as a cowboy, when his leather face
creased and stretched. in college I later learned
about kings, and ancient gods who sent their love
in showers of coins, golden, manna from heaven.
and I never talk about my first man, except to
say that he laid my head open and the scar-line
is his illegible signature. my son is more like
an immaculate conception, like my adopted girls
whose teeth and pupils are shaped like a stranger.
we ride to the lake and crush bread for the birds.
I like the geese with their masks and giraffe
necks. sometimes they hiss and you’d swear they
had a row of devil fangs under their poniard tongues.
but especially the swans, I can’t help but think
of them plucked and fleshy turning white and velvet,
like my husband pulling his hands through my henna

Ysidro is a groundskeeper and gravedigger. sometimes
we joke about dead business or a certain shift, and
we laughed about the recipe I have included;
Mexican Chicken Bake, we said: cremate a handful
of skinny bones, and sprinkle lightly over the
dinner table. but it’s peaceful work, and he rests
by the tombs, and weeds the paupers’ wooden crosses.
and tells them about the weather, and here in
Oskaloosa it couldn’t be finer. I am alone most
nights when he walks with sleeping Iowa, and my
imagination can turn black. I think of sewing
him a pole-bag, with cobra skin and vegetable
powder. with fathers and half shells. so he
can speak melodic incantations and command a blood-
less multitude. scary corpses turn to me, their
eye sockets contracting in the light.
we feed the birds and cook a chicken. in a taco
shell it’s perfect, spicy and delicious, like my
sweet Spanish lover’s touch.