Sheila Black: "What I Know of You"



Bus stations in the dead hours

when the girls comb their hair in

the cracked mirrors of the four-

for-a-dollar booths that provide

backgrounds of Marilyn or Chuck

Norris and the junk sick hold

themselves like blown-glass

horses on a spinster’s shelf.

Sunglasses and the morning paper,

the creased routines of rolled

tobacco and bare bread

and the glare of parking lots

at noon, like pews the shaded places

of loading docks and trans-national

trucks and the men who step out

and shade their eyes and the girls who

don’t look at them and the women

who do,  blue rivers of veins up

their thighs. And I would be drunk

like you on a log on a high river,

near the shore, but for a moment

off-kilter and afraid, as you right

yourself like the mercury in the level,

knowing at that moment

what is meant by float, to float on

this everyday sadness,

as the grapes float in the vat,

ferment into a holy red, which stains

the hands and feet of the harvesters,

the blind mouths waiting to be




Sheila Black is the author of a chapbook, How to be a Maquiladora  (Main Street Rag Publishing, Inc., 2007), as well as two full-length poetry collections, House of Bone (CW Press, 2007) and Love/Iraq (CW Press, 2009) .  She also recently published a second chapbook Continental Drift, with painter Michele Marcoux as part of an exhibit at the Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland in March 2010.  Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Willow Springs, Puerto del Sol, and Diode, among others.  She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.