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Tag: Amy Woolard

Things Go South

Always trust a red door

On a black Camaro, thighs

Sticking to the vinyl in the June

Sun, pinking up the place.

Here, the apple don’t fall

From the tree. Here, whatever you

Find lying on the ground is yours.

A scratch-off waiting to strike. The shade

From a sidelong glance. You’re looking at

What happens when a body fights back

Three years after the fact. Three years

After the fact: the sweet morning

Stench of you sweating out last night’s liquor

Just by pushing my tongue against the porcelain

Crown glued in my mouth, like hitting a switch.

Every town I leave, I leave on scholarship.

Nothing looks better to me than seeing

Nothing for miles. I can fit everything

I love into this trunk, into my own two arms,

Into my backhanded smile. And this gas station

Bathroom is more than just an American

Notion of the dirtiest place on Earth. It’s where

I’ll put on my face. I know how to wipe

A scene clean. And then I’m gone, love, like

I was never there. And even if it could hear

You at these speeds, the backseat don’t

Care a lick what you have to say. Sweetheart,

I sympathize with the assassin in every story.

from Neck of the WoodsFind more by Amy Woolard at the library

Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

On The Most Terrifying Character in the Wizard of Oz

It’s not the part where he tells you

He has no heart. It’s not when he

Tells you how much he wants one,

How everything until just now has been

Frozen for him in time, how the trees all

Seem so sour, & territorial, all while he hefts

That gleaming axe. It’s not his silver tongue

Or how the tears fell like clockwork, then

Sawdust. It’s not how he so casually walked off

The job that day, knowing he would follow

You anywhere. If only someone had thought

To change the music just as you asked him

To join you, a theremin, or some low-octave piano.

If only you hadn’t run after so much disaster.

It’s one kind of weapon to be able to tell a girl

A story; it’s another kind to be able to walk her

Home. It’s not even the way he tried to breathe

Those flowers deep into his tin lungs just so he could

Sleep beside you, dreaming of how his ticking

Heart would be the alarm that wakes you,

How his creaking arms would be the ones

To build you a house that stayed put.

It’s the way he looks at you, the way he thinks

He’s loved you since before you even first

Arrived here in front of him, hungry for

Apples that weren’t even his to give you.

from Neck of the WoodsFind more by Amy Woolard at the library

Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

The Blonde Path

When I visit hell I carry a paper girl with me

As currency. Black minidress with white tabs

That fold over her shoulders.

A demolition after my own heart.

The hostess searches my bag at the door.

She confiscates my red marker,

My syringe filled with mortar & bricks,

& threatens to banish me if I am heard

Listing the names of flowers.

She shows me to a table where my past lover

Sits by himself. His eyes are shifty & seductive

As spring flowers. He is the one who taught me

Always to have a second rasp of voice

Behind my voice. I am grateful.

My eyes are accurate as green canoes.

He tells me stories of explorers

In undersea caves. The ones that go for miles.

Each time he touches me,

The sky drops fifty feet. I tell him

The three main ways I don’t want to die.

I tell him I’d like to live in a lighthouse.

He doesn’t seem to know when I’m lying.

He takes a cigarette without asking, & asks

Where my better half is.

It will not break me.

Forsythia, oncidium, daisy, a light tingle

On my shoulders as if I were just out of reach

Of an invisible whip’s crack.

Sweetheart: a miniature of the original, as in roses.

Whisper forget-me-not & see where it gets you.

You don’t know if you’re coming or going.

When I come to you it will be

From a great distance & it will be likely

That I unwind a spool of wire

Behind me, somewhere connected to something

I planted in my sleep.

I’ve postponed spring for now

& look forward to the summer.

I see the bride in everyone.

Time-lapse clouds roll overhead.

I make lists just to get the feel for

Crossing things off.

Inject a house into the horizon, inject a secret

Passage, a secret room, a waterwheel

Of jealousies attached to the house,

A fire far in the backyard, large enough

So the nearing boats will have to choose.

Something is wrong.

In the end, aren’t there always stars?

What is missing is the porch.

from Neck of the WoodsFind more by Amy Woolard at the library

Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.