I Am Bride, Not Lizard
By the fifth dress I feel my feet
grow flat, nails extend,
skin stiffen into an armor
of bumps. The manager leads me
through a sea of scales to the pedestal,
my new sun rock. My friends gather
around my tail, the fluff
of my ruff. How they coo and cry
at my headdress shake as I smile,
as I plot which grasshopper will die,
relish the crunch of legs
in my pointed, back-toothed mouth.
My incisors tamed, I wonder
at the silence I’m becoming,
the gateway opening at my feet
where white is entrance,
where I can savor the taste of the forbidden
I can now eat.
The Wife Discovers the Secret to Being Happy
Happy is more than a yellow blob
with blank bullet eyes, pencil thin
smile that kicks at the edges
with showgirl legs. Happy doesn’t like
being known for her round,
her inability to control the width
of her middle, but she’s Happy,
and she has a strong, classic face,
one of those faces
that doesn’t need alterations –
all open sun, all molten
flame, all perfection –
a gaseous ball swirling debris,
This Wife, This Weed
She pokes through the mulch,
asserts her right to sky –
same-grounded as the begonias,
the tomatoes, the snap dragons
I freed from their boxes,
the geraniums whose roots
I combed like doll hair
before putting to bed.
This wife wants to know
what she will be: flower
or nuisance, two foot or full tree,
sticker-thorned or red-belled.
She asks again and again as I threaten
with scissors, with hands hungry
to pluck or crush. There’s already
another wife unfurling, stretching
her arm for help,
but I’m practicing compassion,
the ability to walk away.
Diagram of Things the Wife Cannot Say
Silence is the other woman –
she can’t leave or cheat.
I’ve built her this house
from a blueprint of hard lines,
the unsayable with labels
that mean nothing, point to nothing.
We are a picture of nothing.
She wakes to new walls,
plastic holding her in,
the cement of her future filling out her torso,
her chest a neat little cornerstone.
Hunting with Her Husband, the Wife Shoots a Doe
At the breath of you I shatter, beneath
pinecone luminescence begin. Hope
sprouts full hearted from my head, sweet
vellum times ten, an abundance
that shames. You found me. Another woman,
you must know. I stare up the barrel
as if the bullet were an eye, light
wrapped inside. But we’re covered
in gunpowder. You see my ten points,
a trophy, you don’t see me. You crouch,
take aim. You think I’m him.
This is the way it has to be.
Raylyn Clacher is a poet, mother, and teacher living in Wichita, Kansas. Her chapbook, All of her Leaves, was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2015. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in journals such as the South Dakota Review, New Orleans Review, and burntdistrict, among others. She also facilitates the monthly Wichita Community Poetry Workshop.