Claire Keyes

For the Yogini

She died after draping herself
over a giant blue ball, her feet planted,
belly button to the sky; she died holding
plank pose, hands beneath her shoulders,
toes tucked, legs straight, body suspended;
she died taking a swan dive to touch her toes,
arms spread like wings; she died as happy baby,
her back flat on the floor, legs up but bent,
hands clutching her feet; she died in tree pose,
her left leg tucked onto her right thigh, arms spread
like tree branches; she died in corpse pose,
lying flat on her back, arms by her sides, palms
facing up; she died listening to her teacher
instruct each body part to go to sleep,
her mind at rest.

She died in Tallahassee
a gun shot in her chest; she died
when an angry Army vet couldn’t take
women’s refusals anymore; shot six
times by someone she never knew,
she died bathed in blood, shrieks
of fear the last sounds she heard;
she died while a male yogi battled
the attacker with a broom; she died,
a bloody corpse in a yoga studio
with another dead woman
and several more wounded,

January in Massachusetts

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafor D. L.

Snowflakes drift down beneath a dove-gray sky,
the roofs all around town graced with white
shawls, and you’re embraced by yours
and I by mine, good places to be
during a winter storm
with ample space between snowflakes
so it becomes magical, a simple delight
to watch or play in
unless it turns
the squalor where your family is sprawled
with hundreds of others into a miasma:
refugees driven to escape the terrors of war,
the iconic photo of the drowned child
hauled from the beach, so much flotsam,
the longing just to be contained
like this, warm,
looking forward to a hot meal,
if only ham, potatoes
the snow admired as wintry play
and not the raw cold and dread
of not being at home anywhere.


Claire Keyes is the author of The Question of Rapture from Mayapple Press and the chapbook, Rising and Falling. A second book of poems, What Diamonds Can Do, was published in 2015 by Cherry Grove Collections. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Literary Bohemian, Sugar Mule, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Persimmon Tree, Comstock Review and on NPRs The Writers Almanac. She is Professor emerita at Salem State University and lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

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