Degrees of Separation


                        Out flew the web and floated wide;

                        The mirror cracked from side to side;

                                             The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson


She paints his portrait as she saw him first, standing near an amber

lamp – dark hair & eyes, pale skin, gold sweater, 

traces his face in cadmium oils – he reflects on her from

a chiaroscuro tunnel. She places him on a shelf, dusts him daily. 

She sculpts his form in alabaster, but never grazes the stubble

along his jaw with her fingertips, never places her mouth on his lips. 

She writes a play, gives herself the role of Radha, dreams of  melding

her body with dusky-blue Krishna’s, but he never becomes flesh. 

She sings to his shifting shadows in a silver mirror,

until desire moves her to thrust her hand through the glass, to stroke  

his skin, but with the first touch, as if she were cursed, she sinks

to the bottom of a cold river. Water flowing overhead ripples 

her view of a dark-eyed man as he stares down at her from the riverbank,

as if to wonder who she is, and why he never noticed her before. 

Doctor Marano’s Therapy 

His wine, aged in oak casks,

can be traced to old world vines.

He swirls his chardonnay,

fancies himself Dionysius,

host of gentile bacchanalias,

freaky scholar of Kant, Hegel,

and Freudian analysands –

women who do not tell him

the bowties he wears are clownish.

He lobs his remarks at the barnacles,

blurry-eyed females on his couch,

passes them tissues, climbs their

barriers, no grief will separate

him from their shores. 

Sacred Figs Rites       


First I wash them in a spray of water,

dry them with a tea towel,

mounds of black mission figs. 

I lift one to my mouth,

brush it’s flesh against my lips,

note its tautness, imagine 

pink red inside, hundreds of seeds

I will suck into my mouth, faint

sweetness lingering, fresh-fig 

perfume. In a bowl, cradled

figs cup each other, miniature

breasts with feather-stem points, 

now spilled onto a table, dark

tears, plump with moisture,

heavy with the secrets 

they’ve held within their

rounded chambers for too long.

My knife is poised for the opening.

Christine Swint writes poetry, fiction, and personal essays in metro Atlanta, Georgia, where she lives with her husband, two teenage sons, and two dogs, Raf and Duffy. Her poems and stories have appeared in Mirrors, Long Story Short, Mamaphonic, Postal Poetry, qarrtsiluni, Mannequin Envy, and are forthcoming in Asphalt Sky and Decanto. She studied English and Spanish at the University of Georgia, and Spanish literature at Middlebury College in Spain, where she completed her M.A.

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