Poems by Karen Weyant

She Likes to Work Graveyard

She knows that the truck dri­ver at the counter
wants the pot rot, the thick pool of crusted
cof­fee that’s been sit­ting for hours.

She waits on the women off sec­ond shift
at M&C Parts, their Ladies Night
a quick bite of apple pie and a few sips

of Just water, please. She serves the col­lege boys
who wan­der in after the local bars’ last calls,
bal­ances three plates on her left arm,

pours drinks with her right. In the lull
after three, she finds crumbs cling­ing
to the crook of her arm, maple syrup

stick­ing to the thin strands of hair smeared
across her fore­head. She lis­tens to Joey sing
That’s Amore as he bakes for the day, swears

she finds miss­ing verses tucked in the back­room
every off-note key lodged in the wire racks
with the con­tain­ers of blue cheese,

the jars of mild pep­per rings and dill pick­les.
When she leaves, she col­lects
the splin­ter moons, brown rings left

on dol­lar bill tips from chipped cof­fee cups,
the thin slice of the night’s rem­nants
she can see in the rearview mir­ror of her car.

Because We Wore Cam­ou­flage Before We Wore Miniskirts

We knew leaves and twigs first as a polyester-cotton blend coat
or a brother’s hunt­ing cap that fell to the brim of our noses.
We under­stood dawn on the first day of doe as ritual,

watched our broth­ers and uncles and fathers check their rifles,
their scopes, leave the house curs­ing the cold, but bless­ing the snow.
We made our own guns from broom­sticks, binoculars

from toi­let paper rolls. We pulled invis­i­ble trig­gers,
pre­tended that the kick-back would bruise the soft skin
below our col­lar­bones, above the place where our breasts

would soon be. We cov­ered our face with green eye­shadow
and black mas­cara, pulled our hair back in tight braids.
We made makeshift tents from bedsheets,

used the top bunk as a tree stand. Our fin­gers never shook,
our aim per­fect, our tar­gets never sprang away.
We grew up, found lip­stick and gold bracelets,

wore our t-shirts and jeans tight, for­got how we once
wanted to blend in with the boys. Until that day we saw
the girl wear­ing cam­ou­flage as a short skirt,

dark patches rid­ing up her thighs, the green
catch­ing the high­lights in her eyes, and we remem­bered
those cold Novem­ber days when our mothers

found us hud­dled in our own bed­room hunt­ing camps,
our lips tight­en­ing around whis­pers,
I’m hid­ing, can’t you see that I’m hiding?

The Dirt Sisters

Because we were the only two girls
in a neigh­bor­hood filled with boys,
we aban­doned the lit­tle league fields
to play in the old strip mines above
Toby Creek. With every climb,

we strived for trac­tion. Slip­ping,
sneak­ers slid­ing, we fell, bro­ken pieces
of shale pierced the ground, split
open our skin. At the top, we yelled
Queen of the Moun­tain, sure

We wanted to rule a king­dom of scraped land
and thin tufts of yel­lowed grass.
We staked our claim, scratched our names
in the dirt, became blood sis­ters with a sharp poke
and two gritty fin­gers pressed together.

You were the leader, never mind­ing
how dust lined soaked your ankles, how
a thin cloud of dust cir­cled your head
like a halo, how you swiped your pricked fin­ger
against the thighs of your jeans,

the red a rust streak soaked to your thighs.
At home, My mother sighed, spit
on a dish towel, wiped my face.
There’s a beau­ti­ful young lady under­neath
all this
, she said. I never said out loud
that I wasn’t so sure.

Karen J. Weyant's work can be seen in 5AM, the Barn Owl Review, Cave Wall, The Fid­dle­back, Fly­way, Cop­per Nickel and River Styx. Her first chap­book Steal­ing Dust was pub­lished in 2009 by Fin­ish­ing Line Press, and her sec­ond chap­book, Wear­ing Heels in the Rust Belt won Main Street Rag's 2011 Chap­book Con­test and will be pub­lished in 2012. In 2007, she was awarded a poetry fel­low­ship from the New York Foun­da­tion for the Arts. She now lives and writes in War­ren, Penn­syl­va­nia, but teaches at Jamestown Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Jamestown, New York.

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One Response to Poems by Karen Weyant

  1. Pingback: Three at Fried Chicken and Coffee « The Scrapper Poet

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