Three Poems by Jeannine Hall Gailey

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A Woman Turns Fifty with Cherry Blossoms

A cold spring, too cold, blossoms a fizz of pink
only a smattering against the gray sky.

How much of the old me is left in this body?
Cells reborn or replaced, DNA repairs slowing

as parts of me wear out. Scans of brain and liver
show neurons unravelling, tumors lurking large

inside me. My hair more silver, my eyes growing
more gray, like the rain – perhaps I am, like the spring,

growing less bright each year. Or perhaps beneath
my skin I am heating up, catching fire, growing

more destructive, like the seas that threaten 
and the forests turning to flame each summer,

the earthquakes that threaten our sedate surfaces. 


In Spring, Cassandra Reminds Us

That even though the hyacinths smell so sweet,
a shadow lingers under our footfalls,
that late snow covers a multitude of sins.

Passover, Easter - festivals so violent in origin - 
celebrated with jellybeans, eggs and herbs -
can’t obscure the blood on the hands of time

we like to forget. Cassandra dreams of cities 
in flames, children dying on soldier’s knives,
nightmares she lives over and over. 

This plague, this war, today’s crimes are no longer
a surprise to her. She walks beneath the weeping willow
as it turns green, notices the pink petals falling,

piling at her feet. April’s early strawberries
stain our fingers. The delight and ferocity
of fertility rites, the rabbit with her nest,

spring’s shoddy bright delights -  she bows her head,
offers a prayer to the gods she knows will not answer. 
In her basket, branches of bruised blossoms.


Dating Profile

First of all, you should know 
I have pink hair
I ate a lot of stars as a child
I cheer for the villainess
I lack tact and can be judgmental
I was raised on fallen angels and apocalypse
I know how to throw a knife/shoot a gun
I know how to make you feel sorry
I don’t want to see pictures of:
1. your gun 2. your dick 3. dead animals you killed
4. your car 5. your dog 6. your wife/ex-wife/ex-girlfriend
Don’t want to hear about “those crazy bitches”
or your religion or your taxes or why things are so hard for white men
I’m not really sure why I’m here
childhood of Appalachian trees and fossils and daffodils
I like the beach gray and stony like my eyes
my favorite drink is a Pomegranate martini
you seem to lack direction  
I never said I was soft as a cloud
Have you already pictured me
naked? or dead? I’m not selling
what you’re buying anyway. 
I’m not as nice as I look
If I had one word to describe myself
chaossparkstormblossomficklefaefair

Jeannine Hall Gailey is a poet with Multiple Sclerosis, who served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of six books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize and the SFPA’s Elgin Award, and, upcoming in 2023, Flare, Corona from BOA Editions. Her work has appeared in journals like The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Her web site is www.webbish6.com. Twitter and Instagram: @webbish6.

Image: Cherry blossom in Japan under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license by ajari

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