Poetry chapbook, 30 pages, $7 cover price
($5 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)
This title was selected for publication as a result of entering the MSR Annual Chapbook Contest.
Kathy Ackerman grew up in Northwest Ohio but has lived in the Carolinas since 1984. She has published two previous chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in several literary journals. Her chapbook The Time It Takes was number four in the New Women’s Voices Poetry Series of Finishing Line Press (2002). Crossbones and Princess Lace won the Mary Belle Campbell Poetry Book Publication Award from the North Carolina Writers Network in 2003. She is also the author of The Heart of Revolution: The Radical Life and Novels of Olive Dargan, a critical biography of North Carolina writer Olive Tilford Dargan, pseudonym Fielding Burke (University of Tennessee Press, 2004).
Ackerman is Writer-in-Residence at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina, dividing her time between there and Charlotte, where she lives with her husband Gary and their elderly howling cat, Puck.
The woods go diagonal while we sleep.
We wake to trunks and limbs aslant
snapped from verticality,
bending their topmost youngest leaves
to the ground
as if to see something closely there.
Encased in translucence
these trees we’ve learned to look up to
may never rise again
may break at their secret cores.
It is nothing but unholy, this folding over
under the weight of the gods’ good graces,
the gods’ good ices, melting
much too slowly,
as if there is something we’d prefer to see.
The Fall of Spring
On eager legs spring cantered in
to flower the dry gray lines of winter.
Bulbs burst through simmering mulch,
they thrust their heads, tulips
tight as kisses. We shimmered
all February. Then he stumbled.
His feet ahead of his time, he went down
in late March snow.
New buds like tiny saucers filled,
our comeuppance overflowed
as we covered with cotton sheets
what nascent green we could reach.
Just when our blood was fevering
and passion began to moisten the sunrise.
Just as the days were stretching out
like a taut new lover’s shins and thighs,
a slightly turned resting ankle
warm as endangered blooms.
On our tongues the peach’s essence
vanished as the stem inside
the delicate flower broke and fell,
a small frozen loaded pistil.
Dime a Dozen:
Job Interviews, Academic Style
I’ve done them all—
the 20-minute quickie
in the convention hotel room,
at least one professor perched on the edge
of the double bed made quick
before the afternoon round
But those were mere preliminaries
to determine to whom the campus visit
would be offered like a satin sash.
More preliminary still the phone interview,
my voice a metallic ricochet through speaker wire.
I eye the hole in my slipper
to keep myself focused. My protruding toe
is disappointed by my lack of originality,
my biggest strength,
best lesson and five year plan.
I’ve had the privilege of travel also,
making the final three to be plunked down
in Kansas, say, not at all like Dorothy,
the Saturday stay required,
the price of my early arrival and late departure
a Murphy-bed room
unrented so long the dust bunnies died in the wall
for lack of light
like the chair who dozed
through my lesson that day,
role-playing apathetic students
or merely dreaming
the perfect candidate.