Gillian Chantler + Kathleen Stewart

Warm Blues


Snow blows from the mountains’ white caps

like strands of silver hair from crinkled hats

as she sits below at a classroom desk

behind narrow frosted windows,

in a cobalt town cradled

by the blurry guidelines of home,

thinking there may be something askew

about the color blue

and what lives within,

be it birds of a feather or fluther of jellies,

flocks or schools, folk or fools.

It bit like the teeth of her zipper,

stitched fire-red fleece

over her darting heart

in the shadows of zigzag houses

that loomed, blinding views of the sky,

the boundless sapphire height

awaiting her depth.

Years later she can barely remember the blue,

scissored from her memory

after she dreamt and forgot,

released a cold-veined clot,

and time let the warmth bleed through.

Peccadillo Parade


They gather like dogs

at their bowls for dinner,

crowd as the parade begins,

wag tails at the same old chow.

The tiny elementary school girls

all packaged in poodle skirts,

made-up like pageant dolls

mimicking their mothers

who line the street, baring teeth,

and threatening with thumbs up.

The paparazzi parents snap pictures of their kids;

gloomy Sue from St. John’s covets her own,

while her lovesick husband grins at Ben,

the young hair stylist from Bangz Boutique

who stands all come-hither across the street.

The middle school marching band

wipe sweat from Clearasil-ed foreheads,

drain spit valves between apprehensive notes,

the girls cautious of their lip gloss,

the boys stretching necks to look at them,

the high school cheerleaders

toe-touching and bouncing,

scantily-skirted and jiggling

metallic pom-poms that flash

underneath iron street lamps,

invite gawks from lusty men they pass,

who are careful not to trip

on their ball-and-chains.

The high school football team

march no-necked in letter jackets

past Miss Stiles, the math teacher

who stands daunted in the mob,

avoiding the wink from 83,

the player she lost her job over.

Next, the Homecoming Queen,

Sophia, Latina beauty,

propped up in a sequined gown

in a polished Mustang drop-top,

looking too smart for this business

and showing it with a distant visage.