Shift

Find the rubber handled ignition key that has slipped down into a pocket of tear in tweed's satin lining. Button up coat and turn on headlights. Push the black bar and skim airwaves for a Motown sound. Listen to N.P.R.'s update on Guantanamo Bay turn into New England's incoming blizzard report. Feel angry for political caging. Be thankful for deep treaded snow tires. Leave the state pavement for dirt roaded home. Take dirt road and surrender steering to frozen, casted rut. Follow rut into steep bank. See road ahead sideways. Flip car over onto roof. Hear metal scratch and safety glass split. See road up side down. Scream anything obscene. Calm down. Scream again. Turn engine off. Locate shattered window by cold air rush. Use seat cushions above to pull your body out. Get on foot and stumble. Crawl. Grasp for full breath but pant. Unlock your house door. Have the frozen key stick to your bloody fingers. Make sure that you don't need an ambulance. Dial telephone for help. Find flashlight walk back to wreck. Make icicle tears.
Poetry by Kellie Campbell

HIV Positive

Because she risked a midnight indiscretion, she could shake the cold hand of death. As the airplane moved her towards Colorado, her veins could contain a vicious, horrifying plague. She could shake the cold hand of death, with her body in torture and her mind frozen. Her veins could contain a vicious, horrifying plague, and ignorant people would point and stare. With her body in torture and her mind frozen, she could be stripped of precious dignity. And ignorant people would point and stare, while the government holds back funds for research. She could be stripped of precious dignity, make friends in treatment who would also die. While the government holds back funds for research, she must find options and hang onto threads. Make friends in treatment who would also die, because she risked a midnight indiscretion, she must find options and hang onto threads, as the airplane moved her towards Colorado.

May 1936, With Aunt Margaret

Its frequent floats between Frankfurt and Lakehurst, New Jersey, had captivated Miss Margaret Mather's lucid blue eyes. She had admired the huge silver shape of the 800 foot Zeppelin, entranced by the stillness in its smooth motion. Through a cool mist the passengers were escorted towards the airfield by stoic German soldiers who inspected every stocking and toothpaste tube with unusual suspicion. The dirigible was tethered and rocking restlessly beside its mammoth hanger. Spectators and Nazi boys were waving as Miss Margaret crossed the narrow gangway onto the airship's passenger deck. From ceiling to floor pearl-gray linen dressed the interior. Long sloping windows tilted open, she could hear a brass band below. The captain called "up ship". Mooring ropes were loosened and with a quick lift, then pull, upwards the Hindenburg joined the clouds, drifting over vast beech woods and twinkling villages. Hilltop beacons guided them along rapidly out to sea. Aunt Margaret dined at the captain's table. They shared a lust for adventure. He said that the strong storms that surrounded them would do nothing more than cause dramatic white caps below. Glistening icebergs and full spectrum rainbows encircled Newfoundland. The airship was saluted by Boston harbor water vessels and small airplanes buzzed for a clear glimpse. Some followed along. Bursting yellow forsythia splashed against green hay fields spotted with apple trees in full spring bloom. Dogs barked madly. Deer galloped into pine forests for shelter. Cars pulled over and tooted their horns. Tall buildings were enveloped into the New York skyline by thick grey clouds. Passengers wept as they cruised the Bronx, then Harlem, down Fifth Avenue, past bridges ,and out towards New Jersey. Home was spectacular in Miss Margaret's view. Thunder rolled over the Hindenburg and flashes of lightning filled the sky. The first landing was aborted. Aunt Margaret didn't care how long they circled, she wrote in her journal, changed her dress then joined the other passengers on deck. A jolt. Then the mooring ropes were tossed out. The landing crew rushed forward to draw the great silver dirigible down. A dull muffled pop came from the engines, the ship lurched forward and she was hurled against the far end wall. Other bodies pinned her. Aunt Margaret couldn't breath. She stayed down, others jumped up until blue and red flames shot in like a tongue. People screamed. Impaled against the metal trimmings, charcoaled, streaming with blood, some shot out the windows, many died instantly. The lapels of her coat let her hide and still see horror. "Hey Madame, come out." She couldn't realize what was left of the ship burnt on the ground. A limo became an ambulance, a shop became the hospital. She didn't know how many people were there because there were too few to count. Aunt Margaret's hands were blackened and burnt flesh was the air. A semi-conscious steward raised his head and with full respect said "Miss Margaret Mather, your coat's melted to your body! And do you know that you're missing a shoe? " She didn't.

The Moon Guided Me Home Tonight

Beneath close cropped finger nails, a garden of coffee ground black soil. Castings of purple liatris and stark white cosmos -- bursting in day. Afternoon under alpine light, shadows split weeping pines, also me into two. Eight hours I nurse flower borders. Twenty-four I am lonely. Speeding to tempt her I meditate until calm. Black bra coddles breasts yearing for light like dandelions for spring. I want more than chamomile in a porcelain cup. More than my body can promise alone.