by Bill Glose
Wrapping long hair into a bun
pinned behind her head,
she dons a full-face helmet and gloves,
biker jacket and studded pants.
Sliding into platform boots
she mounts her Honda 450,
a motorcycle three times her weight.
Sheathed in gray leather, she rockets
like an androgynous missile,
bony grip of daily despairs
loosening with every mile.
Cutting wind like the tip
of a plunging spear that knows
nothing but forward motion,
she leans into the road’s music—
backbeats of steel-belted rubber
on asphalt as tree-lined streets chant
from heartwood at the center
of every ring, the echoing pulse
thrumming within her hurtling chest.
by Bill Glose
Like a bum-kneed man sensing
drops in barometric pressure,
pausing halfway to the mailbox,
shielding his eyes from bright sun,
scanning the blue and wispy white
in search of black anvils,
I feel the change in atmosphere
the moment I open the front door.
No stomping feet. No slamming drawers.
Abba trilling from speakers.
Every planet in the Solar System
has an atmosphere, particles dancing
across the surface thanks to gravity.
Jigs of each one depends on
periodicity of their patterns,
creating images we see
through telescopes—dust storms
on Mars, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter,
holes in the gaseous blue of Neptune.
Light years away, epistellar jovians
shed atmospheres into space
like shimmering tails of comets,
day sides blistering with heat,
night singing with supersonic wind.
Here on Earth, in this house,
chopping sounds lead me
to the kitchen where a haze
of onion engulfs my girlfriend,
tear-streaked cheeks for once
having nothing to do with cancer,
clusters of damaged cells on x-rays
resembling strange phenomena
from distant corners of space—
globular gatherings of gas
or the elephant-like trunks
of the Pillars of Creation.
I’m making tofu burritos,
she says, choking, smiling,
turning back to the stove.
And what can I do but stand
gape-mouthed, like an astronomer
on some exoplanet we’ve yet
to discover, peering through
a curved lens at our tiny rock
sheathed in swirling clouds,
witnessing the curling froth
of a hurricane as it turns from land
and disappears into endless blue.
Bill Glose is a former paratrooper and combat platoon leader. The author of four poetry collections, Glose was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate in 2011 and featured by NPR on The Writer’s Almanac in 2017. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Missouri Review, Rattle, The Sun, Narrative Magazine, and Poet Lore. His current work reflects upon the panic- and dread-filled months after his girlfriend was diagnosed with lung cancer.