Pam Sinicrope

Sleepover at Vivien’s house in Oronoco, MN

Our sons tense
in wooden quiet before the rope
yanks and they rev over the sudsy
river like hooked fish, jowls
agape, terrified bliss. We sip
wine from blue bottles, steer
the boat to her rambler, replete
with dahlias, chickens
and two black Labs—
one fat, one fast.

We caved
to mud, mess and missed—
classes, scales, laps.
A lapse. The boys played
hardball in late-blooming Night
shade. They ladled popcorn
into bowls of butter, bunked
in her basement, all nuzzle
and nimblewit, organic
and reeking.

I was chronic,
a chromium mother
tethered to a distant sun
working my way to breakdown
while they leapt from her dock,
tufts of spray swirling confetti.
Who wouldn’t give up
wattage to gaze at burnt shoulders
capped with towels and flapping
like boisterous swans?

Aubade Shift with Burt Bacharach, beginning and ending with heat

Heat and tongue. He is her breathing pillow
at sunrise full of demand for breakfast.
All sputter and flame with a frying pan,

she is shocked with loneliness remembers
what happiness forgets for twenty years.
She is fenugreek behind the keyless

cayenne while he claims to know the spices.
Their tadka is off, yet there she remains,
oiling her navel with fingers of ghee

and mustard seed, angles to orgasm
blooming while he eats strictly midwestern.
If only they had shuttered the blaze and

slept—if only they could walk on by,
temper the funk of their hing, onion sweat
on skin. If only they could make love like

Bacharach composes—radical keys
skipping meter, defying the ear worm.
But Dionne was never their golden muse—

and though they are not two stars shuttlecocked
in a black hole’s pull, they are on fire—
they are losing heat.

Pam Sinicrope is enrolled in the low-residency MFA program at Augsburg University and works as a behavioral scientist in Rochester, Minnesota. Her poems have been published in journals such as Literary Mama, Appalachian Journal, 3 Elements Review, and Indolent Books.

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Spring 2021