2 Poems (Rhienna Renée Guedry)

HOLDING STILL 

You weren’t there, so you can’t tell me that you remember

—but that lets me know I’ve told you this one before: about 

That time I faked it, breath and beating heart like diving under 

I clenched so tight my ears ached, all to attract a predatory bird

Body flat against the hot grass, both of us small, living things 

emboldened by one another, one more feral than the other 

Little round girl who dreamed it first: the field, the open 

sky, the stillness, the bird of prey, then becoming the prey  

The thrill of deception; just a game, the less-wild thing pantomiming 

death to tempt feathers and talons to a grocery store parking lot   

—That beast knew better; if she was as southern as we were, she’d tsk tsk, 

caw bless her heart over my soft freckled body, caw leave this dumb one be  

Now I am clear how we are perishable; too warm to pass off as a carcass,

and there’s already too much death—forged and real—to add to it. 

You brought your own spices along, you are grilling 

fennel and swirling wine, buoyant on this shore 

The hawks circle overhead and I shoo our small dog inside

You see no threat and, well, nor do I, but old habits die hard

You marry cutlery to cloth napkins and I watch the sky 

Violet overtakes grey until we need candlelight, stillness 

Is the practice of abandoning worry. I’m still learning 

the difference between between keeping busy and playing dead 

Untitled Garden Poem  

(Index: F.S. Pansy, Euphorbia)

Facing east, sunlight lingers out back as often as we do

to receive it, warming scalp and crown to tingle, squint 

glint while the crows clean their beaks on our arbor, 

having finished the scraps we feed them

We aspire for a garden that matches postcard 

visions: poppies wild, shrubs fruitful, and still

we can’t believe spring bulbs yield what they do, all

those days of grey and grey and grey and 

sometimes soapy jade, from whence we barely 

crawl out from underneath every April–that

was when the Frizzle Sizzle Pansies 

I bought for you all died before May Day,  

perhaps apt for a bloom with a name like that 

The best plants are weeds, anyway

I transplant the Euphorbia—despite 

your objections—because what I love is 

its instinct: it doesn’t need us

it doesn’t need our attention 

to survive

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Rhienna Renée Guedry (she/they) is a writer, illustrator, and producer whose favorite geographic locations all have something to do with their proximity to water. Her work has appeared in Muzzle, Gigantic Sequins, Empty Mirror, HAD, Oyster River Pages, and elsewhere. Rhienna is currently working on her first novel. Find out more about her projects at rhienna.com or @cajunsparkle_ on Twitter. 

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image: MM Kaufman