Elaine Sexton

One Sings, the Other Doesn’t

      A cento, movie titles beginning & ending with Agnes Varda

One sings stormy weather, gone
with the wind, clueless.
Miss Congeniality,
the help, the First Wives Club,
in a league of their own, wild.
She’s beautiful when she’s angry,
death proof. All about my mother
set it off, a girl walks home alone,
a question of silence, an unmarried woman.
The women: the hours,
itty bitty titty committee, bad girl,
women without men, sweetie,
the Stepford wives, even cowgirls
get the blues. I am somebody,
if these walls could talk. Lipstick
under my burka, the little
girl who lives down the lane,
legally blonde, goddess remembered,
the love witch, born in flames, vagabond.

Autobiographia Literaria

       after Frank O’Hara

Someday the blank page will rush
under me and with the grace

of a walk in the woods
with you, who have been silent

for years. You will blow sun
in the spring-leafed trees,

and the damp earth
will begin to dry

and crack, and the birds
who no longer migrate

will start to sing, despite
global warming, for they, too

love the author, who stumbles
through time. Still, there’s a chance

that history repeating itself
will change course. You’re not

dead yet
, a friend, who has
passed, liked to say, and

I’ve been known
to perseverate. And repeat, and repeat,

and will probably do so
from the grave, my stone

etched with the text: Not yet.
Not yet.

Elaine Sexton is the author of three books: Sleuth, Causeway, and Prospect/Refuge. Her poems, art reviews, book reviews, and works in visual art have appeared in journals and anthologies, textbooks and websites including American Poetry Review, Art in America, Poetry, O! the Oprah Magazine, and Poetry Daily. An avid bookmaker and micro-publisher, she has curated many site-specific events with accompanying limited-edition chapbooks, among them Hair and 2 Horatio.

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