Janice D. Soderling is widely published in print and online with work at The Pedestal, Blue Unicorn, New Verse News, Soundzine, Concise Delight, Literary Mama, Left Hand Waving, Loch Raven Review, Lucid Rhythms, Unsplendid, Anon, Lyric Poetry Magazine, The Centrifugal Eye, Horizon Review, Borealis, The Flea, The Chimaera, and the recently released Best of Our Stories anthology. Her poetry was nominated by Shit Creek Review in 2009 for Dzanc Best of the Web, Sundance Best of the Net, and Pushcart. She lives in a small Swedish village.
Dancing Home From the War
The blind stallions are stamping
in burning stables
and the dead woman still nightwalks
in your river,
nervously plucking at her armload of
No more cicadas, no rubbled trucks.
Eurystheus is dead.
Didn’t you see I was crying when you
came back from the seared landscape,
chalking up our losses.
Forget the white stalls and blazing
straw where your lips melt like
ozone into the lower lefthand
corner of our photograph.
Here, Hercules. Here are your children.
Therimachus, Deicoon, Creontiades.
Turning to the window,
Leda Maria ruffles her silky down.
Her lidless eyes open to the light.
Her wild swan neck inclines.
Beyond those rainbow wings
runs the road,
under an ivied arch
ascending to the hill.
A swift caress of the guillotine wind,
a hiss of words,
a sigh of annunciation,
blood on white feathers.
Anointed by a swarm of light,
she huddles into herself,
Regard the Painted Lady!
Fed on nettles, on thistles,
this bizarre cosmopolite,
this mournful migrant.
A lonely child
even before her metamorphosis.
Kept always to herself,
a sulky loner,
Well, what can you expect?
Gorging on purple flowers,
nighty-night on thistledown,
not even a candle for comfort.
No good can come of that.
Her antenna writing busily in the air.
Her lidless eyes recording like a clerk.
A garish little nectarpot lifting her skirt,
uncoiling her long, hollow tongue.
She waits close beside the lamppost,
wanting her pollen, another golden fix.
she flies only when warmed by the sun.
Caught in random currents
of blind genetic drift,
the protoplasm surges
and divides. Surprised,
two cells burst free.
A sudden gust of wind. A swirl
of random eddies. Flimsy boats
bob outward from the shore.
Fragile sails. A long voyage.
What the heart is
The heart is a toothed hole that cannot be filled. It seizes love and chomps it up, grinds it
down, melts it with caustic juices. The heart is ravenous, gluttonous, insatiable, never
satisfied, wanting more, more, more. Gimme, gimme, gimmie, it says. Chomp, chomp.
The heart is a cavern. Ice coats its sad red walls. The heart cries: Ah, Love, come in and warm me,
make me cozy, light a fire. Ah, Love, have pity on me. Ah, Love, I die in this insidious chill.
The heart is an barren expanse, a private outer space, darker than a black hole. Signals
from the galaxies beat against its little telescope, thump-a-thump-a-thump-a. Its core
is dense and needy. Its instability strip is broad. The heart orbits the brain like a white dwarf.