Poetry by Amanda Rachelle Warren

In Amber

Because of you cut pears smell boozy with decay.
Brown sugar glues itself to itself in the bowl.
The past flows like pine and maple.

And this is why I repeat the rituals to call down light.
They are a stopper.
They do very little.

I need a bypass for the cabochon lodged in some ventricle.
In the long run I’ll need a new pump—this one is always breaking.
There was a stint of dreams that worked like aloe to stay the pain burning my
sequentially as musical notes,
while I slip my tongue along the far edge of worn memory:
reshaping it into some sweetness lick by lick.

And like the owl says: “the world may never know.”
Because the temptation to burst the seeming permanence of
days into nothing is so great that it sets our teeth to worry.

You take up an unfair share of space.
Specimen in glass gathering no dust.

There in the amber pane. Distorted, magnified—
the once remembered,
once brim with blood.

Oncet Ghost, Oncet Rain

I fantasize at being the dark hand that silences doubt:
finding some grain of absolute among the trembling.
Part of me says I am outside this secret.
Part of me says all secrets are the same secret.

We repel and are repelled by. We attract and are attracted by.
The same with smaller things: want cheese, fear trap.
The same with larger things.

I desire the smell of rain, like love it should permeate me.
I want that my blood should smell like rainwater. I want my hair
to crack electric beneath the brush, like dry days in winter,
and smell close to lightning.

I want to walk past old men sitting, and have them ponder
the strange turn in weather their noses sense.
I want to put aches in their toes.  I want them to love me as I am passing,
and fear me later as they lie in bed.
This is not a secret.

Would I rather be feared or loved? I said loved.
He said loved. And how we feared each other some days,
and saw it was the same: fear and desire in this way.
You do not necessarily desire what you fear, but you always fear what you desire.
This could never be a secret.

We desire the like, we desire the unlike.
It is never irrational, it is so rational it dizzies.
This is no secret either.

It is no secret how we keep, how we maintain, how we crave.


About Amanda Rachelle Warren

Amanda Rachelle Warren’s poems have appeared most recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Pacific Review, Cimarron Review and Hayden’s Ferry, as well as other journals. She was the 2011 recipient of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative’s Chapbook Competition. Her chapbook Ritual no.3: For the Exorcism of Ghosts, was published by Stepping Stone Press in early 2011.  She is a graduate of Western Michigan University’s Doctoral program in English, a former poetry editor for Third Coast, and currently works as a Lecturer at the University of South Carolina Aiken. She lives in Aiken, SC with her husband, and fellow poet, Roy Seeger.