This work was featured in Issue 18:2, Spring 2017 — Cave Canem 20th Anniversary Issue

E.J. Antonio

Two Poems

Pelham Railroad Station

Any Saturday 9:30 a.m.

count me in my car: jeep
sitting in front of the 12-hour meter
outside of the north side parking lot
count two young cardinals
bright red of puberty blaring in the sun
surveying the neighborhood
count the three other cars
parked next to me
BMW / Benz / Audi
count four sparrows
chasing each other & the cardinals
from shrub to shrub / chirping
loudly / having a raucous time
count the meter-person
riding by in that little scooter
ticketing machine in hand
frowning because there’s
no time infraction here
count the police officer
in his patrol car / his face
speculates why i’m sitting here
count the oversized crow perched
on the power line / eyes stalking
the sparrows the way the officer
gawks at me / occupant of a jeep
ensconced in this upper-middle class
line-up of luxury: butter-soft
leather bucket-seats / rear-view
cameras / Bose sound systems
count me & the small birds moving
on to other landscapes / a septet
looking to enjoy a nice day / find a place
where we are not so easily preyed upon

 

Opah

(moonfish)

in Eden’s waters, seahorses called us the moon’s fallen sisters. beautiful & beguiling rotund blood orange platter-shaped discus shimmering in waves only Adam dared breech to snare us, use us as mirror for Eve’s beauty. he bid us be serving tray for her semi-precious alabaster & opal diamond & ruby orbs combed from the earth to adorn her bed. that exploding crumbling bed threw us into myth’s echo. a place where daylight’s gray veil made us dull etchings of lost pleasures. washed away by the black sea, we became brilliant pumpkin as the dark water erased Eden’s shadows from our vision & carved its elegy deep in our scales. unconsecrated & abandoned, its heirs trawl deep water to find us, say homily as they fillet our skin searching for their lost inheritance in the craters of our flesh.

 

E.J. Antonio is a recipient of fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the author of two chapbooks, Every Child Knows (Premier Poets Chapbook Series, 2007) and Solstice (Red Glass Books, 2013), and a CD, Rituals in the marrow: Recipe for a jam session. Her website: www.ejantoniobluez.net/