Tocsin and Ode to Ex-boyfriends

Blythe Boyer





The autumn starts, and winter’s soon to come.

The aging colors blood each bush, each tree

will vein its leaves to gold. The drum

of time and cold beats on, and plays for me

the thrum of passing spells. To ring the bells –

of birth, of growing up, of spreading out –

will sound our days out loud. And when life tells

us to, we’ll stop, all tolled. We know how

to measure days and space, record the low

sweet music rounding notes in sharp relief. 

But listen to it now, because the snow

will cover us. The autumn is so brief.

We may get lost in chorus or in rifts;

we’ll dance before we’re covered in the drifts.



Ode to Ex-boyfriends



It’s impossible to rhapsodize

a grabby boy who fumbled

me through a syllabus of nuts

and bolts, who broke my lollipop

defense, or one who smoked a spliff

on the toilet while I rinsed

splotches from my underwear.

They all made that flip-flop

in my belly, at first.

And there were days in the park.



Sometimes a lack of function serves

its own cocktail with a twist,

sour to undo the illusion of love.

Doors creaked between us.

You’d sing on one side, cooking

for an audience of dishtowels and spatulas, slapping

them down for applause.

We made love as the fan

whirred, the sound

whispered like our breathing.



Over break we ate Thanksgiving

leftovers, your dad’s stuffing

and your mom’s pills,

sloshed on your waterbed

for five slow days.

Your head bobbed like a party

balloon, a swollen red

untethered, then deflating

into a wrinkled rubber sack.

You clutched me all the way back to school.


Blythe Boyer lives and writes in Philadelphia, PA. She likes to gather the emotional and historical content that we might otherwise discard—lost pieces of our daily lives—and find a way to puzzle it all together. Her poetry has appeared in Chronogram, and she is working on her MFA from Rosemont College.


Photo "Rocky Snow" by Bella Dante.




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Poems Copyright © 2006 Blythe Boyer. All rights reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2006 Bella Dante.  All rights reserved.