FALL 2011




Solidus Online

Katherine Solomon


All week my shoulder blades ache,
begging wings, their transparent
lift. My body yearns for velvet
bee roundness, stumbling flight,
beatitudinous song.

Or is it the shiver in the nearly
neon cloud of azaleas I crave,
the magenta flash that only lasts
so long, their ravished float
above the fence, their tremble,
their dance in place? I want it

all, the give and take, all
that sweet agitation.



Moonbeams stream in
        over the windowsill: lightsnakes
                raising a furor

of milky shadows, dark reflections
        in the mirror. The woman
                throws off her bed sheet,

crosses shifting patterns
        to the open window. Outside a hooting
                loon slides across

the pond. Silver reeds and grasses
        shiver as she passes. From the black
                and platinum sky

her mate calls out in vain:
        she’s confined now to a pond
                too small to rise from.

She’s been fooled down
        to the surface by another moon
                shining in the water.

It must have looked so near
        to her, like something she could bear
                into any dark, a spark

of wavering, watery fire, a mirror
        compass. Now water snakes circle.
                The woman paces,

and the mirror trembles
        like a slammed door. Poor loons—
                they might have shared minnows

plentiful as mirror shadows,
        protected, perfect nests, bright roads
                on spacious lakes,

the cold months on the ocean. They might have
        had all their winter moons
                dipped in salt.



At the base of my spine the thrum
of some tune I can almost hear

raises me up to dance, and today
the dance I dance is goatdance,

swordvault. Watch me leap away
from death once more. Watch me

fill his bone basket with flowers. Illusion,
you say, sitting on the head of a pin.

Desire, I answer, drowning myself
in a black feather boa. Oblivious

I spin in a tinkly mist, while outside
somewhere, the same subvocal song

sets a turtle to cross the two-lane
in search of a nesting bog.



What burns in me burns
like a hearthfire before
electricity was tamed.

But one who juggles toads
and stars has barred
my way inside.

And the universe drapes
its black coils like old
doilies over the edge

of a shelf in my pantry:
mobius twist of life
and death. Yes, yes,

whispers the salamander
warming itself by the firepit.
In another life I am a dragon

toasting my toes in the sun’s
fire. And the cat spread
across the windowsill says

she keeps her balance by imagining
gyroscopes, how it might feel
to swallow one. So like a cat.

Why can’t I simply strike
a note, a match? Look.
There is a harp in there,

a stack of good hard wood.
But the juggler laughs,
and it scrapes my ribs

like a swallowed key.



When the hot salt winds blew wild,
even her apron could not contain her.

Its two puffed pockets, stuffed with
wooden pins, hankies and broken

marbles, made a sound like grackles
when she hung her meager

washing out to dry. Circled
by imaginary birds she heard them

reply, watched them settle
on the crumbling jetty, tremble

after tremble coursing through
her thick legs, lonesome torso.



She is a tiny elephant, dressed
today in a ballerina costume.
Her wide ears are lined with plush
pink velvet to match her tutu.

He is a wind-up godzilla who sparks
as he walks. His pinking shear teeth
click as they tickle her right ear,
clamping down softly on its blush.

She has been practicing arabesques
on the bookshelf. Now she’s stuck
in a helpless split, big feet wrapped
in satin slippers, pointing east

and west, tusks primly cocked
to the same angle as her trunk.
She doesn’t know what to do but wait,
while he simply hangs on to her ear,

not biting down, not even breathing
very hard, certainly not
whispering a burst of sweet, short
flames in her ear. Not yet.


Katherine Solomon lives in Sutton, NH, with her husband, Sol, and Buster the cat. She has worked for over twenty years in a family-owned business serving the Natural Foods Industry.

She has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College, and has taught at the New Hampshire Community Technical College in Claremont.

She has also taught several local poetry workshops, and a course on NH poets for Elderhostel. She enjoys working with visual artists, and has participated in collaborative art/poetry exhibits with Maine artist, Antoinette Schultze, and NH artist, Bob Orsillo.

Her poems have appeared in a number of reviews including, "Naugatuck River Review," "Green Mountains Review," "Baybury Review," "Columbia Poetry Review," "Color Wheel," "Worcester Review," and "Spoon River Poetry Review," as well as in several anthologies, including Orpheus & Company: Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology, The 2008 Poets' Guide to New Hampshire, and Under the Legislature of Stars: 62 New Hampshire Poets.

She is a member of the Skimmilk Writers Group, and the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the NH State Council on the Arts for the year 2000. Her chapbook, Tempting Fate, is available from Oyster River Press.