Fates

1

Recently I saw an iguana killed on the turnpike.

He was trying to get to the other side,
which is all any of us is really trying to do.

2


(My body spins but my soul spins faster.)

3

Once my chiropractor touched a fake skeleton

across the room and I felt my vertebrae relax.
Is this possible? I said quietly, so as not to jinx him.

4

Now I’m writing about the Fates with my friend

Neil and we decide to mention Neil’s lover,

Hector. We both agree that Hector is extremely

mythological. He even has mythological OCD,

Neil points out, which I actually had once myself

in the nineties or seventies. Hector is excellent at

vacuuming and so was I. We both enjoy soap.

Furthermore, I hate it when bacon spits fat onto a

clean kitchen floor, even though I’ve always loved

the sound of sizzling oil and the way it burns like a

tattoo when it hits the wrist: lizard, lifeline, bone.

Maureen Seaton.jpg

Pronouns: She/Her

5 Poems (Best for desktop view)

Maureen Seaton

Fates

Canary in a Coalmine

Sex with an Angel

Her

Poem Ending in a Line by Ntozake

Shange; Or, Death by Music (2020)

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Canary in a Coalmine

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect (The Police)

Once upon a time there was a perfectly
fucked up world where if you tried to defect
to a nicer cage or some bright coalmine
(canary alert), you’d walk a straight line
in yout old (yellow) boa, your delusions
caught in the pouring rain between conclusions

and Charybdis. What are conclusions
but the tail ends of (yellow) imperfect
days where all your (yellow) delusions
come crashing down on your (yellow) defects

and attempts at walking a (yellow) line

as if (yellow) were blue and the coalmine

cutting off your birdsong like a coalmine
in a wave of methane gas draws conclusions

that will change your (albeit yellow) line

forever. Breathe. We will need perfect
air from this stanza on, all our defects
of character (shortcomings) (delusions)

piling up around us like the delusions
we sang in our once upon a coalmine,
the way all the other songsters defected

when they realized we’d reached conclusions

no one who wasn’t a bird and perfect

could ever understand, a dizzying line

between you and you and another straight line.

Who is bird enough to shed delusions?
Who is (yellow) enough and who perfect?

When I died I came out of the coalmine

into a world I’d jumped to conclusions

about. You could say I was defect-

able. You could even say my defects
were respectable. Here is a conga line
to hop onto and then skip conclusions.
What is this world but all kinds of delusions?

Zenyatta Mondatta, my friend—and a coalmine

with its canary poised for flight: perfection.

Sex With An Angel
Her

Poem Ending in a Line by Ntozake Shange; Or, Death by Music (2020)

The nuns used to say

I was vaccinated with

phonograph needles.

It’s true. I was slain
in the spirit of song when

I was little more

than three feet tall. Lis-

ten: forte, fortissimo,

fortississimo.

You can hear the way

the heart son claves itself:

You can hold your breath

and syncopate a poem.
Your breath could catch fire.

You could die right now while you

hold yrself in a music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJtq6OmD-_Y

—Playing for Change | Song around the World (2011)

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Maureen Seaton (she/her) has authored twenty-one poetry collections, both solo and collaborative, most recently, Sweet World (CavanKerry, 2019), winner of the Florida Book Award for Poetry. Other honors include the Lambda Literary Award, Audre Lorde Award, NEA, and Pushcart. Her memoir, Sex Talks to Girls (University of Wisconsin, 2008, 2018), also garnered a “Lammy”. She teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.

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