2009 L.L. Winship/
PEN New England Award
78 pages, $15.00
Two Minutes of Light
by Nancy K. Pearson
To The High School Prom Queen
Theres just one highway. The wind rears up like a circus beetle.
The setting sun hangs purple tags on the mountains
as if night were for sale too. Las Vegas tilt o wheels
its neon legs toward the desert
humming seamstress of broke down and ritz
tacking embroidery floss and velvet swag on everything.
You are there, in the Women's Correctional Institute,
sleeping on a cot in a former storage closet.
Miles away, snow wriggles through dune and pine.
Pork chops thaw in my sink; potatoes boil on the stove.
You behind a bar-pull of stars, sky-wandering
and homeless without the concrete hooks of a city.
You on the streets, cash-wadded and meth-loaded.
You, knocking out someone's teeth.
Dear friend, I have finally stopped trying to kill myself.
Sometimes the light comes in tiny points,
shark-toothed and smaller than stars;
sometimes, it sprays over everything.
Every day my scars shrivel up lids of rain
in a garbage can. Once I wanted to travel.
Now Im in love with the way whole Saturdays
weigh on my back with laminate flooring and wood piling.
My girlfriend and I throw chops on the grill,
fat floats above the trees. Shaken,
sometimes the stars, the pine needles spiral gracefully.