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Penny Perry



he will be home tonight.

Everything is lifting.

The fog in our valley,

the extra blanket I need

when I’m alone.


I wash my hair and wrap

it in a towel.

Tonight, my hair will fan

open, an anemone 

on his shoulder.


A queen in a turban,

I hang wash on the line,

juice oranges and ruby

pomegranates, mix sugar

butter and cinnamon

in a bowl.


Only noon. Already

my nipples stand

at attention. I make

the bed with sun-dried



Everything is rushing.

Pomegranate juice

from pitcher to glass, 

water in a vase I fill

with lupines.


Almost dusk, my skirt

still on the line lifts

its hem.


  for Bill


My rented cabin closed up

all day. My pillow from home

fire on my back. Windows,

doors open. 


Our first bedroom,

that knotty pine cathedral,

the sweet salt and yeast of us.

My body opening, a surprise

like the lipped fruit of a saguaro. 


I sit outside on the balcony,

floating like a ship in the pines,

eat spicy spinach with a plastic fork.


Maybe you are resting on the pillow

that is the mate of mine.


A gray squirrel watches me.

I sip ice water. Another hour

until the room cools enough 

for sleep.


Maybe you are in your studio tonight.

Your notes from the saxophone

settling on our new green figs.


Here the moon almost full,

curls into the curve of a pine.

Penny Perry has been widely published as a poet, most recently in Lilith and the San Diego Poetry Annual. Her fiction has appeared in Redbook and California Quarterly. She was the first woman admitted to The American Film Institute screenwriting program, and a film based on her script, A Berkeley Christmas ,aired on PBS.


A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee in both fiction and poetry, she was born and raised in Santa Monica, the setting for her first collection of poetry, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage (Garden Oak Press, 2012), available at Amazon via CreateSpace.

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