Bio Note: Laurie Byro lives off a dirt road in the backwoods of NJ. Her husband, Mr Byro, is a soothsayer. He spends most of the night playing the banjo to the cat. This gives Laurie space to create her breathless wordscapes. She sees them as feral creatures which have escaped from the cage of her imagination and established a free life in the shared world. She likes it best when her poems run away from her, refuse food, bite the hand that feeds them. Mr Byro plinks out Oh Susanna. The cat cries, chases the poems into the woods. Sometimes after midnight she comes back with bloody paws. Laurie is available for tupperware parties and stag nights. She makes fondue and molds marzipan. She was born under the sign of wanton desire. Her Mars and Neptune are perfectly aligned.
Visiting His Aunt, Christmas
The rivers have frozen, yet beneath the ice,
turtles and fish swim in slow motion—
a silent ballet, undistracted by the jubilant world.
At night, we skate beneath stars
that pirouette closer. The motion above
and below suspends us as if we were fish,
struggling to breathe, struggling
to keep from becoming stones.
Last year, trying to escape the cold—
we snuck off to the barn,
to hear the lowing of the animals.
But the dark with its mossy warmth
greeted us with another legend,
and the green holly man startled us
from his perch up in the rafters.
This night, we are cagey, fearless.
A flask of whiskey has made us bold.
You tie up my laces, wrap a long red scarf
round and round.
You kiss my forehead, warm my neck
with wool muffled breath.
We skate through a skeleton of trees,
sentinels to a deeper forest. We stop
at a boulder we know by its graffiti,
pause to take a swig, your eyes merry
as you tell me to look up at the cobwebbed sky.
We’ve dared each other before. I suck
your bottom lip, taste the smoky malt.
Birds mate in the trees, branches fill with eyes.
Your arms are thorned as you pass
the flask. Your eyes glow red.
The trees rustle, your face scratches
as you kiss me, whispering “Happy Christmas.”
I remember the bitter taste of you.
You crush one berry in my mouth.
"Visiting his Aunt, Christmas" appeared most recently in Luna
©2020 Laurie Byro
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