Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Amanda Auchter

Available Light

What do shadows do
      but remain flat victims of light?

Without bodies, they spread out across
      a floor, slip behind shelves,

wait for someone to fall
      into their negative world.

A candle’s stammer, bursts of bulbs,
      blue reflection of television,

incandescence, any flicker
       & they’re gone.

Like them, you disappear through a door,
      take all the available light with you.

I can believe in waiting,
      search the dark spaces,

ghost restored to ghost
      with nothing to say.

Show me a door slammed
       & I will walk the edges,

sink into a thin black line, tunnel out
      beyond its cracks,

track down your footsteps,
      wear the night on my back.

Advice for Little Girls

                                 for Angelica

As a child, you imagine your life will be—what?

a movie, a Broadway musical, your name in neon,
one scene after another, supporting cast, chorus girls,

leading man, some soundtrack in the background,
an orchestra that cuts in the exact moment

you feel this is what life is.

As a child, you try on selves,
dolls that date, learn to kiss, stuff socks

into your first bra, strut around your room
in high heels four sizes too big, wonder

when a man loves you, what self
will be most important.

As a child, you learn even dirt can be good for you,
that cleanliness is not a direct line to godliness,

that a spot of blood in your underwear
means life is happening.

As a child, you find love means
a telephone call, a note slipped under your chair,

and later, you paint your toenails red,
shrink your jeans in the dryer.

Don’t let the bedroom knock you down
with its visits of lovers, hang-up calls,

stones thrown at the window.

Your body is an unfinished paradise—
keep alive in your skin, dazzle yourself,

laugh out loud, turn up the volume.
In the mirror, applaud, then bow.

Flowers will be thrown at your feet.

©2004 by Amanda Auchter

Amanda Auchter is the editor of Pebble Lake Review, and was a finalist in the Atlanta Review 2004 International Poetry Competition. She is the recipient of the 2004 Howard Moss Poetry Prize, and won third prize in the 2003 Writer's Digest Writing Competition for creative nonfiction.

  Home Contributors Past Issues Search   Links  Guidelines About Us


Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter