Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Petroglyph

BY SALLY ROSEN KINDRED

What it meant to me, before you were born: pain
made a hand, a hunger in the slab. I mean before
I was your mother. At the cliff I cradled
 
a camera, thought I’d hold
what touch laid bare—red horses braiding their wild breath
to grit. What a letter meant
 
before I sealed it with my tongue,
my need starring ink. Before your body,
I wanted to leave marks. You then:
 
smoke borne on bright rock,
red light rimed by sky. I thought
a mark was heat that could connect
 
and connection was the grassy hour of palm brushing flank—
or alone, red horse painting itself across a cliff—
was two palms pressed together warm
 
as the sun’s skin-print. Now
you’re hard light, thrown. Your hand flares
over mine, red-brown and solar, keeps its own
 
orbit. You like to show me how
you make a fist. I hand you frames
of horses bound to paper. I dream
 
varnish of you on a rock, silt of your dark lips:
tell me what I mean and what to want,
almost-man, and your fist never in stone.



Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two books from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters (2014) and No Eden (2011), and a chapbook, Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in journals including Quarterly West, Blackbird, Linebreak, and Verse Daily.