A Journal of poetry and kindred prose

Christina Pacosz

has been writing and publishing prose and poetry for nearly half a century and has several books of poetry, the most recent, Greatest Hits, 1975-2001 (Pudding House, 2002). Her work has appeared recently in I-70 Review, Jane’s Stories III, Women Writing Across Boundaries and a poem is forthcoming in Pemmican.

Christina has worked as a small-press-book bus driver, a waitress, a library clerk, a carpenter’s apprentice, a poet in the schools, and a teacher. Born and raised in Detroit, she has lived on both U.S. coasts, New York City, Alaska and southern Appalachia. For the past ten years she has been teaching urban Kansas City youth on both sides of the state line; she and her husband of almost twenty years call Kansas City home.

--Back to Poetry Contents--

A New Broom Sweeps Clean

But this old broom
also does the trick.
I put my back
as they say—into it—
these brisk, repetitive arcs
across worn wood.
The porch needs paint

and a board or two
or three replaced. A new roof, too.
Only the wind sweeps aging shingles.
Last night a family of raccoons
shuffled above us in our sleep
peering through the window,
paws and noses up against the cold

clarity of glass and our
butterscotch cat, growling low,
every muscle and nerve
poised to go toe-to-toe.
The light from the porch bulb
does nothing to dispel
the indigo dark of 4 AM.

Just a few determined stars
pierce the city’s murk.
Leaning on the broom handle
I listen to a train
rattling on the tracks, its whistle
a brush of sound
across an urban palette

bereft of leaves.
No place to go but winter
trees sleep. A robin chortles
its lines in a muted
dawn chorus.
Another day
before us.


The Mother of Violence

Now I am seeing
the natural blackness
of this world
not only objects
illuminated by light.

How to measure the darkness
lingering beneath the trees—
the imported silk, the native oak—
even as their upper-
most branches

are a green blaze
in the sun.
Remember the iridescent
plumage of the hummingbird
is black

without the light.
Black like a branch
bereft of the life of the living
leaves, charcoal waiting
for the flame.

This is not the time
for debate: which came first—
the light, the dark
but recall how shadow
is at the beginning

before the word.
The vinyl appliqué
a black silhouette
of a hawk
on the window

a warning for birds
to stay away.
How the specter
of the predator
troubles the dreams

of its prey.
The swift dash
of the mongoose
darting across
the blacktop road

on the path
of lava erupting
from the molten void
at the center
of the earth.


When I Was

a Witch
and wild
dancing sabbats
greeting solstice
and equinox
solitary beneath the Oregon oak
and the stars
mist gathering
in the pasture
where the cows
ignored the fog
of my breath
as I moved my body
through asana after asana
naked in the dark
ending always
with The Plough