Poetry Showcase 3 poems by Cat Dixon

Each candle is a soul.......

from unsplash (Ri_Ya)

Stay Here

I must go back 
to the last exit and send
along the tow truck
to retrieve you. Please be
patient while I unfold
the paper map—
no cell service out here—
and plot your route
home. On the hood of the old
overheated SUV, I darken 
the path with my Dixon-brand
pencil and hand the map over.
Perhaps the engine will start 
once it’s cooled. Follow 
these directions please.
If you take a wrong turn,
whisper my name, and like Siri,
I’ll direct you there. Repeat
my name during those fits 
of laughter that will 
return again. One cannot
remain lost forever. Remember
my fuzzy hair, sense of direction,
explosive sneezes, and tears
of joy at the most inappropriate 
moments. Listen and watch
until the engine starts 
or the tow truck retrieves you
from the side of the road.
Stay here. 

We have climbed the mountain and stood on its bent apex in the billowing wind

You’re there with that white flag
and your longer hair waving in the wind.
You said "we" reached the summit,
but everyone knows that’s a lie,
a cover story. No one could love 
Grendel, yet despite the attacks—
I burned your flesh and leveled your future—
you held onto my hand, and took each blow.

You invited me to dance in your dark 
room—candles flickered and the bed
was made—and you waited for the canine
to leave the blood, waited for the beast
to begin metamorphosis. Words that
you carved into wood, painted onto
dishes, were delivered along with the skin
of your back, now tattooed 
with my nine-letter first name. 

The never-ending war did 
in fact end when you drank 
from my cup without fear
of consequence, and the knife 
you held out was pointed 
at our own chest. It’s time to rest. 

I sit at the base of the mountain
chewing on a strand of my hair 
waiting for the battle with the dragon.
That is what comes to those 
who dare love a beast.  

We have dug through rocks, roots, and bones to feel the earth's churning, burning core

This heart is gray with glittery flecks,
and since it’s buried, it doesn’t rust,
doesn’t call attention to its rapid
beatings or fluttering, doesn’t appear
to be affected by stress. Don’t be fooled—
someday all the sorrow will spill 
into crevices, volcanoes, and trenches,
and it will explode, sending 
iron out to the stars. 

Bio: Cat Dixon is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet's Haven, 2019). Recent work published in Sledgehammer Lit and Whale Road Review. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.