2 Poems by Courtney Gustafson
When we moved across the country
your tongue turned to a map. Growing up
I confused geographic and geometric,
so I am always mixing up islands
and lines. Who knew a tongue
could be a border.
Here people can tell where we’re from,
the way our mouths stumble on sounds--
a note identifiable as a photo, an air flow,
a way to know we’re far away. Like so much
muscle, we moved here without knowing
where a mouth ends.
Your tongue has become a territory
I’m not sure of. I have only just thought
of tracing your borders black, your
precarious map, the red islands
of your mouth healing and shifting
like plates. Your mouth as angular
as a shape.
All egg white and crow,
things that don't grow right
inside me. The day they
found the murdered girl I believed
she might be mine, a sign,
this thing that could be
in me. They put up signs
for tips (Did you know me?)
daily places replaced
by a face (tell police my name)
I wish I could know (text
GIRL). Body that can't
do things I don't want it to do,
billboard every day reminder
(please). I bleed
one month at a time.
Courtney Gustafson is a poet and writer living in Tucson, Arizona. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Hermeneutic Chaos, Rust + Moth, Word Riot, and elsewhere. She tweets at @cgust.
Louis Staeble, fine arts photographer and poet, lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. His photographs have appeared in “Agave”, “Blinders Journal”, “Blue Hour”, “Conclave Journal”, "Elsewhere Magazine", “GFT Magazine”, “Fifth Wednesday Journal”, “Four Ties Literary Review”, "Inklette Magazine", “Microfiction Monday”, "Paper Tape Magazine", “Qwerty”, “Revolution John”, “Rose Red Review”, “Sonder Review”, “Timber Journal”, “Tishman Review” and “Your Impossible Voice”. His web pages can be viewed either at http://staeblestudioa.weebly.com or http://lstaebl.wix.com/closeup.