The Tower Journal

Michelle Villanueva


I never cared much for these lilacs she said
slowly teasing melted gum from its wrapper

you recall it I know the first time we left
the beach slow sunset it was and those riddles

made you laugh while above us flew sleek skylarks
clogging the breeze with their forgiving wings

delicate we were as sea spun macaroons
on Sundays when the boulevards ran empty

my head filled with the evening crisp as new lace
sang with the wind on that shimmering clothesline

surprised she remembered I sighed wondering when
the sun had dulled the sharp edges I once knew

and pinpricks of conversation had become
filigree in the spun corners of her mind

smiling she told me I would have stayed were we
free from stark lines pulling us tumbling back

even still I could taste the surf air heavy
with taffy colored whispers of the divine

then with their beguiling scent lilac petals
pattered away those thoughts as we shuffled home

spatters of kindling

I called her on the way to work she said weeds
seep the delight from arborvitae
as though pointing upward they fail her

strange as light always seemed her lover
and clouds reached forth their swollen arms
lingering mist her scent when she drifted past
horses traced her pattern along creek paths
while bees strummed petals in store parking lots

apart from them scaffolding sighed
with the weight of those simpering gargoyles
the dirt miles away conspired I heard it
we barely noticed the thin grass
when she exhaled across the vineyards

these are the packs they carried
these are the smoldering drifts they live

these are merely atoms among hedgerows
bleak their glimmering eyes in the warm sand

sparks may yet occur

beside lint thick candy grandmother
stores purse size secrets while forgetting
paper engulfs flesh as tinder for lions

she cries when torrents of passing time
move further touching houseplants for warmth
love fails while love once throbbing with smoke
sings pathetic the dirge along pitted dirt

rain leaves small circle marks within charred brush
her sick breath cloying arches through mind corners
handily covered such deafening teal ringed sounds
while beauty as powdered sugar streaks the breeze

opening the package called old lady she smiles
cantaloupe grey her whispers slim through pale air
hands scale the lines scenery scratched upon her
and sweat unforgiving blurs her dust caked eyes

always chagrined when reducing robins to words
she wields her pot lid against waves of complaints
wary that unsuspecting eyes might behold
known and yet knowing fully the mirror blinks

pulling her loose skin gives meaning as roses
ripe with the day she first felt that bleak embrace
gears grinding heavy with dull reminiscence
fade away for the moment while she drifts past

only the oak trees call forth women from mists
tales past these settled tomes writers beguile her
when starstreams cast to the sand tremble home

silt soft as dancing yields to her touch while lace
graces the table that lately held their plans
she lights one sap stained letter then another

rapt and throbbing

the heat from the whites of her eyes
could burn waves through the crisp savanna
grandfather said were these fields quiet
from the drumbeat of seedpods and blood

direction gives slight comfort these mountains
shattered strings divine what grows in sand
trickling against the grit of perseverance
hardened bone shards muffle her whisper yes

past lit match the last words those grasses sigh
around you fingers of tendrils scrape the dirt
while ragged gods beguiled by the bleating scent
bright these glistening husks with your exhale

this sacrifice anodyne for her hunger
embrace it as though precious bread and wine
seep from the edge of her lips to the greedy earth

rain alone dissolves regret while mercy
wizened as the crow hands that release you
and impalas seethe with the force of smoke

sidewalks too shatter

riding from the market I hear wings
caution lights strain these streets dynamic
the drivers release their feral moans
three times these chain links a symphony

hedgerows mutter her name still the spring
ignites torches once bright boulevards
pedals spiral air pieces divine
her possibilities carillon

meanwhile bees disturb sunlight my hope
stark black boots their sleet hands I feel it
heavy the curtains drawn among us
those moon soaked rafters await her song

we count the lines between my colors
skies timpani when devotion fails
divide all our simple streams again
then tell the trees to stop their chanting

that old straw soul too strong the mantra
only knowing one way I hold her
laurel beautiful enough for here
their branches while we breathe it quiet

Copyright © 2014 Michelle Villanueva

Michelle VillanuevaMichelle Villanueva is a student pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Foothill Poetry Journal, The Milo Review, The Shine Journal, and other print and online publications.

The Tower Journal
Fall/Winter 2014