Tuesday, April 9, 2013

National Poetry Month: Michelle Castleberry

Michelle Castleberry

"Stopped Clock"
(Michelle Castleberry)

If the concept of eternal return is true
then right now, the same as in January, 1986
my sister and father are watching basketball.
The Celtics versus the Pistons.
The players sprint in blue, white and green
between the goals, the squeak
of athletic shoes trailing behind them.
Daddy slurps his snack of cornbread
and buttermilk. Sissy tumbles a Ziploc bag
half-filled with water between her hands,
fidgety because the Celtics are down.

The frog-drone of sportscasters blankets them,
along with a blue wash of tv light.
The sports channels beam from a “high satellite”
which the wide, white dish in the yard tilts
all the way up to catch, like a child seeking
the origin of a raindrop.

Wind catches the lip of the dish, shifts it
and Larry Bird’s body undulates with static.
The game tilts, bodies dissolve and cohere.
It is important to note that the sports satellite
is close, at least on the dial, to the porn satellite.
The game commentary slides under  the image
of a barely scrambled threesome.
“The rookie’s looking good.”
“Johnson pulls up…and…misses the shot.”
Or Hypatia Lee chants the fourth vowel of the alphabet
over and over again, while Kevin McHale
(who, incidentally, resembles Peter North)
squints, aims a layup.

And some people say there is never enough time…

The two figures in the lenticular light
have been paralyzed for most of eternity 
and then some, playing chicken
with their own embarrassment
until Daddy utters one syllable,
that alpha and omega
of all awkward moments…


which my sister takes as her cue
to dash outside in coat and gowntail. 
She places one small hand  
on the burning cold metal dish,
wiggles it, looks hard toward the house.

Daddy, from inside, hollers “ok”
into the fireplace where the sound rebounds
up the chimney and out,
arcs into the night air
then lands, all net,
into her upturned ear.

"Stopped Clock" by Michelle Castleberry was originally posted at the Athens (GA) Word of Mouth website and read at the group's monthly gathering.  She is from Hermitage, Arkansas.  Her work has appeared in Six Little Things, Umbrella, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She focuses on character studies, often with Biblical reference points; her performance of "Lot's Wife" and other poems can be heard on SoundCloud and on WUGA-FM's "Wordland" program. She is currently finishing her first collection of poems.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting, Mark. I'm honored to be on your site!