QUEERY: Winter Shift

Artwork by Ashley Ronning
Artwork by Ashley Ronning

born to a decade-long draught

the ballooning of my skin in any heat feels

like the call of home               in a sickly way


and reminds me of how your legs

glued in sweat with mine when

forgetting sleep            we read each other

from cuticles

to follicles


still that walk is with me

when I left you behind

dawn sun slicing iced

sidewalks        roadside snow beds

                       an old man setting up shop

his curious glance noting      I feel sure

the wringing of my ungloved hands


those next twenty-one hours mingle

in my bones with childhood memories:


singlet and undies      bandage clapping hernia scar

finger between lips sneaking into the kitchen

outside mum and dad, laughing

pluck a grape from the bowl and suck

sliding the glass door cement patio

slick with heat,

Hi Sweetie, you’re finally up?


no time to bum a cigarette

but still the drag in my bones

I wonder, is he asleep?

yanking that damn suitcase up subway stairs


jostled to awareness, I’m not gonna make it

pulling off my cap to finger sweaty hair


the next flight home: a steward keeps asking

Are you sure you wouldn’t like a sick bag?


in the fields      sunshine cups my neck

Nanny plucks a dandelion,

Butter mellow, butter yellow

calls me to my sister’s side, holds it to her chin

See the reflection? That spell reveals

a lover of butter

Amy’s eyes      mirror my wonder


slapped by heat           nearly stumble onto

the airplane exit ramps

already, armpit sweat


in dad’s car mum proffers a banana,

Are you sure you’re alright?

smiling, turn with a nod to face factory

warehouse walls        sliding by, white with summer


still the feeling

of our legs entwined


a window rolled down

dry, whipping air

              It’s good to have you home.