/ronda piszk broatch

After The Sky Falls, All Our Small Histories Are Ruffled

We’ve all been saved. The crows lord over their flyway
from here to beyond the trees grown tall, shiny assassins

looking for young to steal. Such holy ruckus under eaves
lulled by jasmine bloom, blue eggs broken to such hunger

as this. Saved from cats who wait at the windowpane
all eyeflash and chitchat, two mouths full of tines. Any given

moment I’m haunted by disaster and courting wonderment.
I am an exaggeration of wants, skinful of Malbec. To be

witness at the crossroads of so many lives, to have watched
the way loss grows underfoot and carries us forward,

because somewhere a child is being born, and someone else
is mapping the distance to the star for which she is named.

The crows know us even when our masks are pulled down
over our faces, shards of blue cutting deep into our hands.

At One Point You’ll Have To Be Good,

reach into the brightness and pull out a word.
Some birds have feathers but cannot wing.
Our best escape is to dive into surf, or slice

the sky reflecting it. Every time I tried, I got stuck
between almost and not quite. I’d try to explain
lilies but the scent scolds me into submission.

Sometimes we Bogart, swizzle gin and slur
at the piano. At one point we put aside charm,
smear suave away with heel of hand, find a little

clarity at the bottom of the glass. It takes a lot
of moxy to be a lily, to copy the industry of bees.
Each time I sit between lava and the South Pole

I weep for the glaciers. Write me an addendum
to the manual for the world. Court me with a riot
of kindness, of blossoms red enough

to break me alive. How many times must I open
the wardrobe of my past to find what led me to now?
How many ancestors does it take to change the future?

Under water there are boulders no one knows about.
Close to shoreline, full of secrets, rooted deep.
Strange the shape of life’s poem. Strange the people

who bring us to water, strange the milk-honey
of language spoken in films, where the male lead
snares his love with a crooked smile, a few bars

played in lounge time, that of all the gin joints
you’ve chosen mine. In a gallery of theories
you’ll have to decide which one speaks of thorns,

which one seems sweet enough to break the toxic
motherness tied to our ankles for what breaks us
into wonderment. Write me a loophole that tethers

me, moon-snail to wedding dress, gin joint to red riot
of roses, that feathered, we possess the ability to fly.

Poet and photographer, Ronda Piszk Broatch is the author of Lake of Fallen Constellations (MoonPath Press, 2015). Ronda is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart prize. Her journal publications include Blackbird, Diagram, Sycamore Review, Missouri Review, Palette Poetry, and Public Radio KUOW’s All Things Considered, among others.