These three poems by Monica Sharp affirm the plasticity and dynamism of memories. In the three a.m. musings, she mines subconscious truths and holds them up to half-light, spying new revelation and understandings that were impossible to grasp in the moment as action unfolded. Snippets, phrases, and brief cuts are edited and braided together, combined, and recombined. Our remembering of the past alters the past. With new vision, what was mundane becomes sublime — redemptive, even…
by: Monica Sharp
I Never Did Find Out I never did find out The pages of life indecipherable In some years innocent in extremis Dissolved in peals of laughter when Confronted with the absurd And tremendously unexpected I never did find out That the world thrived on flesh for sale Invisible pills and lines of coke in clubs Or behind school in the parking lot Covert ops after midnight between Any number and combination Of nude forms Or wombs filled then emptied I never did find out If my self-proclaimed bombshell Of a magnetic aunt Coupled with my very-much-still-boyfriend Just after Y2K in Cabo Or if my best friend At fifteen took sloppy seconds From my lean clean ex I never did find out What they really said about me Or what makes a black snake spiral Chemistry, I guess I said I didn’t care but Wept for months I never did find out What all the fights were for Weeks of stonewall silence Later provisioned with Attributed motives Or why the plaster of the wall Above my desk Slowly wept dust and dry foam Like a sparkless rocket
Sequoyah Middle school mornings carry their own whiff. Deep bottom notes of tonka and aftershave Middle notes of hairspray and cold leather A flirty top note that quickly fades: Tentative attractions. Your locker is red with a dial lock. It’s winter. Your nose is red. The prairie wind is stiff. With hard hands you fumble the code. No matter. You remember that fifth-grader who wired his locker shut, Swigging beer from a brown bottle between classes. Where is Robert Werfel now, if anywhere? Why didn’t they take the stale beer from him? No matter. You pull out the stuffed bear, plush and soft, Sweet as a hidden cloud it pops out, Its size too generous for the space. You have the Christmas card. It’s all ready. Oh middle school mornings Smell like spilt fuel on asphalt, Small crunches awakening. Everyone sleepy, half dreaming. Your minute crush speeds down the corridor. With no art whatsoever you shove the stuffed bear toward him. Here. Take it. He blushes, startled. Turns and flees. Months later, you actually are dating. He confesses his sister gave the bear to her friend in Tennessee. I wish I hadn’t given it away, he mumbles. You eat pepperoni pizza and feel like an adult. So, this is it. A big deal. Forfeited bear or no. His words erase your shame. No matter. We have pepperoni pizza, The bear’s in Tennessee.
Art Carnies Wind lifted off the lake. I stood awkward in my new role, Art carney. Art carney. Some of the art spoke to me. Other art was silent. Atrocious. Come over here! my husband said Bring the drill, The box of screws, Hurry! Wind lifted off the lake. The early summer sun shone, weak. Women clad in strange corduroy bags Clasped round-bellied husbands Strolled up and down the aisles Perused booths stuffed with colors and canvas. Great granite blocks hugged the shore. I didn’t know what I was doing, Who he was, why was I here? I hurried and hustled as best I could. Wind lifted off the lake. An older artist folded into a wheelchair - The brush his last redoubt. Do you have a sense of place? He looked closely at me - curiously. I didn’t, I didn’t have A sense of place. I shivered. Wind lifted off the lake.
Monica lives and writes in Florence, Italy. Her international spirit travels with an American passport. She moonlights as a legal researcher when not parenting, managing people and projects, or writing. Her writing has been published in The Florentine, Rome-ing: Firenze, Bosphorus Review of Books, Fevers of the Mind, Adamah, and Synapse. Find out more at sharpmonica.com.