Driving in Wisconsin
We follow roads that can’t decide
between pavement and gravel,
cracked like lips and curved like palms.
These roads go until
amber husks curl over them.
Caves of corn silk wait for us.
The sky matches the tie
you wore to your father’s funeral.
Clearing Wood with My Father
Trees stand like orphans
tucking moss quilts under arms.
Cracked hands shift gears;
iron tendons strain.
The bucket strikes on trunks,
clipping bark into the air.
My father pushes bodies
to the far end of the field
where a pond sleeps in ice.
We caught fish there,
his hands punching worms on hooks
and scraping scales.
He sings over the Kubota’s grunts.
I can see his lips moving,
the lips that kiss my mother.
The redwings fly overhead
searching for their scattered nests.
For my Sister
You are small: innocent as a violet. Baby in the barn. Snuff out the flames in your feet and snub boys, beer, and life on your own. Stay in the hay, sleep in the deep of the lean-to. Mother needs someone to fill the house with sound. If you vaporize into the world, silence will spin silk in the corners of the ceiling. Mother is too short to dust there. I am already a shadow, with fingers that cannot fold laundry or slice potatoes. If you leave, the petunias that won a blue ribbon will shrivel. Smoke always rises, so keep your head down. Fix your eyes on the carpet and Mother’s house slippers.
Alicia Zuberbier is a poet and makeup artist living in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines, and her first chapbook, many little things, was published in 2014 by VerbalEyze Press.
You can read an interview with her here.