3 poems by Pris Campbell


She trips over her feet,
clumsy in this beginning
of nudges and sighs,
inept in what came
naturally in her golden days,
days of men sprawled carelessly
on her now-junked blue velvet
bed, arms reaching
to pull her down, drown
her with mind sucking kisses.

But what of this new man,
a hot, then cool faucet;
a hurricane, then a windless
day, herself the same,
walking backwards
to his forward, hoping
the blackbirds will give her
a sign, circle the red
or the green, help her
learn where hearts go to hide
when those cared for before
have passed into shadowed
valleys, littered with salt.



Floral Rearrangements

In my Portnoy-like adolescent years,
feet too long, elbows banging
into mother’s ceramic knickknacks,
my resemblance to a towering
sunflower became obvious in my bathing suit
at weekly swim practice.

Gold rubber blossoms adorned my cap.
Stick thin body, supported by knobby knees.
Not a hint of a curve was to be found anywhere
in that damp suit, sewn, I’m certain,
by some sadist, strictly to reveal my imperfections.
No southern belle, to mother’s dismay.

I envied the short, flirty gals,
the ones with the tight cashmere
sweaters, rounded butts,
colorful bracelets from boyfriends
jangling on proud wrists.

How I longed to be like them,
held by some sexy boy in the dark southern night,
while he fumbled for my breast, breath hot on my neck,
fingers reaching for another kind of petal,
as he begged ‘do it, let’s do it’.




Sara stumbles across Norman’s latest book,
has stopped googling his name,
avoids poetry readings,
but there it sits on a site she rarely visits,
a pothole, waiting for her to trip over it.

She can’t catch her breath.
Her heart Is already running,
leaving her behind,
a pale, frozen ghost of a woman,
to deal with feelings she was certain
she’d boxed up in an attic somewhere.

Now she remembers the hint
of mint when he kissed her,
his clothes always folded just so
on the chair before the wilder Norman
came out to carry her up mountains
she’d never climbed with other men.

She wonders if he ever runs across
one of her paintings in a gallery
and loses his breath, too, his heart
galloping, wonders what it would
be like if he’d had the courage to stay
with her and the boy, now grown,
let go of the walls he built stone by stone
around himself, fearing that one day
the castle would collapse
and he would lie there
in the rubble, unable to deal with fists
that still had the urge to strike out,
unable to ward off memories of a childhood
that branded him too deeply to risk
what he might do to their son.

4 Responses to “3 poems by Pris Campbell”

  1. Margaret Walker Says:

    Pris –

    These are magnificent!  I would give my right arm (well, left would be better since I am right handed) to be able to write like this!

    I love all three – I really don’t know which I like best.  Maybe the second one but then again they all speak to me at some level.

    Thank you for sending them!


    PS  For the haiku Shore thing – which was fun –  they must have selected one from everyone who entered. Mine was one I did for Alan’s haiku class.  But, nonetheless, I was glad to see it there!

  2. Carter Monroe Says:

    As always, masterful work.

  3. a.d. winans Says:

    Pris is a fine poet. I particularly liked the last poem in the three presented here.

  4. Pris Campbell Says:

    Thank you all for your comments and thank you, Rusty Truck!

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