Geraldine Connolly poems

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New Territory

- by Geraldine Connolly 24

Sent off to boarding school
at twelve, with a pair of oxfords,
a pair of patents, my sterling
silver christening rosary
and two dozen name tags stitched
like drops of blood onto the collars
of starched blouses, I stare
down the hall, long and dim,
slippery from too many waxings.
Plaster statues of the holy family live
here, in cave-like niches, the Blessed Virgin,
her face soft and chalky, cheeks
powdered pink. Everything about her
is pliable; she is to be our model.
Joseph is nondescript, covered by
a long brown robe. The baby sleeps.
I eye the nuns, black and fluttery,
and my parents, in wool, with fur collars,
giddy with their new freedom.
I unpack my suitcase and survey
the territory. One iron bed,
one chest of drawers, one slender closet.
A crucifix pierces the white wall.
A dark trunk opens its jaws
to swallow my life.

Blue Bridge

- by Geraldine Connolly 22

Praise the good-tempered summer
and the red cardinal
that jumps
like a hot coal off the track.
Praise the heavy leaves,
heroines of green, frosted
with silver. Praise the litter
of torn paper, mulch
and sticks, the spiny holly,
its scarlet land mines.

Praise the black snake that whips
and shudders its way across my path
and the lane where grandmother
and grandfather walked, arms
around each other's waists
next to such a river, below
a blue bridge about to be
crossed by a train.

In the last gasp
of August, they erase the time
it might be now, whispering
into the darkness that passed,
blue plumes of smoke and cicada,
eager and doomed.

Submitted by Nola Garrett

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