2 Poems by Rebecca Valley
IN THE PLANETARIUM
Men look at me with their moon faces.
Doors are not doors, they are mouths
Thick juicy plum tongues, my teeth
against their thin purple skins
I have been told that space is very cold. As a child
I stood at the edge of a lake in winter. The lake was
a field. The lake looked out over a forgotten corner of New York.
Often men drove their trucks out into the middle
and dug their own graves. I threw a silver ring across the ice and watched it
skitter, legs like a little blue beetle’s.
I shiver. With my fishing pole I can hook the fruit from
our crabapple tree and shake it loose for deer to eat.
I give now because I know all I’ve taken and will keep taking.
I see a moon through the steam, which gives a loose light like
a lamp left on in another room.
The moon-faced men wear their undertaker suits.
And I am still in my funeral clothes: blue dress, blue coat, blue shoes.
Still, when I sit in the dark with my eyes up there is no god.
Millions of tiny stars making patterns with each other.
AT THE BOTTOM OF A WELL
There is a little boy speaking
into his fist If I thought the rabbits
would come and whisper their
mythologies I would have stopped the car
Now their satellite dish ears tune to the channels of
a soft grey god whose fur the boy brushes with his fingers
If the truth is a soft apron
That we can set the tapwater on fire
This is Mother's magic trick flames
linger in her hair
presses his mouth into the dirt
Cheeks are meant to be pockets into which we place
our most prized possessions
see: Children who swallow marbles to become more transparent
The rabbit god is nervous and because of this,
I hold up my nose to the wind in the early evening and I can smell
hands buried deep in the earth
When I try to explain that standing
next to death is the only way we can begin to understand
you tell me that some things do not
get easier with practice
While Mother sleeps the boy waits
counting the wet rhythms of her breath
Rebecca Valley is a poet and essayist from Saint Albans, Vermont. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Rattle, The Boiler, and elsewhere. She is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she teaches College Writing. She also serves as editor-in-chief of Drizzle Review, a book review site with a focus on minority authors and books in translation. Her first chapbook, The Bird Eaters, was released by dancing girl press in 2018. You can find more of her work at: www.rebeccavalley.com.