Stalactite by Pam O’Shaughnessy






Entering this world bottom-first on a rainy dawn in St. Louis
where my young parents lived in a converted gas-station,
this world that became a box of snakes and bright toys
to be reached into with care & bravery;
entering this world, I say, a typical push-pull force

which later liked to hide behind the half-opened door
then burst out and snatch junglefruit and run back in;
given a female body and emotions, male brain inserted by accident,
an I’ll-show-them attitude and a kamikaze hunger
for a love still unknown; entering this back-and-forth world, I say,

I would not have guessed the patient thing I’m becoming today:
an amorphous patch on a cave ceiling gazing round and dripping down,
crystallizing into a long mineral as yet unprofound;
and though it’s cold even for icicles here, the ochre figures on the walls
remain revelations; a crack of sunlight moves slow across their play.

Pam O’Shaughnessy


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