A Song Cycle

on Aug 13

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SHE. HE. (2012)
by Nancy Knowles


When he sees her waving her red heart
High over hills, over clouds
His slow feet make him
Want wings instead
So he can just fly up there
Hold it hot in his hands
Not even whispering.

She wonders why he seems a mirage
So tall and distinct yet it seems
So far away.
What else can I try
She wonders, almost


To my face!

Funny you
Should say that
Your eyes on mine
All this long


Open my mouth
I can’t even
Let alone eyes
From your gaze


She said he should come
She forgot to wait
He did what he was told

She wasn’t there
Then when
He wondered
She cried


Predicting rain, heating insufficient
I curl up godless sinless dogless
careless catless and needless to say
less sassy or witty (without my man)
to listen for the rising wind


Now I figure soon
But still not yet
He blocks my way
Screaming nothing
Talking against himself

It’s me he says I trip over
As he throws down
My dreams right there
So on my promise
I’ll stumble
As all the while
He wishes me the best
And goodspeed.

He’s scared
A little lonely
The long winter
The being late
Getting the
Wood in.


do you know
what I know
what she
he says in no
particular order
all the while
thrumming the table
as if deep in thought
but really
just any
Which way?
will do

which is exactly
what he does
since no one
is even


My heresy?
Often of a day
taking a little moment
silence sighing down
like a mantle of prayer.
They never understand quite
what it does for me
this drink from an empty glass.

So after a while
I stop explaining
simply let myself
as in so many things

Be just
a little


She can’t even
see his eyes
or nothing but
he leans in so
taking every chance
to move in closer

She arches her back away
just to talk with him
to swing her hair silky
against his cheek
all bony
with stubble
crow’s feet.


How do you know when you’re enough?
Enough beautiful.
For whom?
Enough wise.
Did you miss me?  Will you
When I’ve sung enough?
For whom? Who says?

Who says I should cover
my neck, my breast?
When I stand up there in all my glory
Will you even be there?
Will I care?
Who are I?
Who am you anyway?

Shall we anyway?
Any which way?
Which way?
You there?


Remind me
where you
come from

I’ll not
call it
my arms they
know you

tell me
your name

Tell me
where can’t
find you

Will rock
you as
I sleep

Way down
South there’s
a holler

carved out
by our

The law
of leaving
who wrote it?

Let me
kneel at
their feet


She challenges
She trusts
She prods
She despairs
She prays
She waits

When he finally fills
She lures him to tip
Just enough just so
Standing on her toes
She can reach
The lip of the cup
Of his eyes
And then like a cat
Kneading his frozen chest
She catches them as they fall
Salty on her tongue
One or two escaping
Splash on their feet.

By him still
She stands tall
Bending to scoop
His laugh, toss it
Back over his head.
High over the clouds

He watches it soar
Now a smile
Now catches it
Behind his back
Now offers it to her
On big open hand.


I never said it
not so as dream darling
could you of hearing

So lest the pharaoh
start in his tomb let me
say it so soft
my finger stroking
two strands of your hair
could almost overshout it:

One spring morning ago
I heard your wings yes
the whoosh of their breeze
went round the world yes
found my window yes

Blew it open yes it did
my dear.  Yes.


copyright © Nancy B. Knowles 2012

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