Book Fair



Poems from The Nature of Attraction

by Pris Campbell & Scott Owens


Resizing Norman


Sara's afraid Norman's too big,
afraid he'll split her in two
if he comes inside.
He presses against her hard
when they kiss, asks her
to hold it--she says no.
She knows what that leads to.

She once went with a man
almost as big as Norman, was cleft
into two Saras when he entered.
Reckless Sara, the one on the left,
one-footed it off to a biker's bar,
did a one-breasted striptease,
made out with wild bearded Bill Sloan,
before prim Sara tracked her down
and jigsawed them together again.

Sara wonders if Norman
could be resized, an odd sort
of cosmetic surgery, granted,
like paring an apple all the way 'round,
and shrinking that fearsome head.
She knows some women like men big,
but Sara feels root canal size
already. She's desperate.

She adores Norman, loves his blue eyes,
the way his hands, his mouth
make her giddy. She's tempted
to be two Saras again, buys
strong rope, handcuffs, duct tape,
just in case, then burrows,
mouselike, into her far larger hole
of wanton indecision.


The Day He Left

Norman tried.
No one could fault him with not trying.
He never hit her,
not once in three years,
not even after the boy came
at first, though he felt the father within him
rising every day, trying to disgorge itself
across the bed, the table,
the faces of those he loved.
And then the day came
when his head hurt,
and it was too hot outside,
and things had gone wrong all day,
and the boy was suddenly louder
than he wanted him to be,
and his hand shot out
just ahead of memory screaming, "No,"
and then shot out again
in a trail of resignation
when she came to his side.

Sara stayed.
He knew she would,
at least for now,
soul that fought hard against giving up.
But he knew it wouldn't last
having tasted once the thrill
of the familiar, like any addict
he knew he'd do it again.

Years later, old and alone,
he'd see it as his one success,
the woman he almost loved,
the day he left.

Night Moon


If I throw up I will die if I throw up I will die If

The words streak through Sara's head.
She presses her lips tight until the nausea passes.
Trying to overcome this inexplicable fear,
she bends, a broken tree, over porcelain,
legs quaking, hands forming a plea.

When she finally remembers him clearly,
she weeps: his old man's flesh
forced into her 8 year old mouth,
back pressed hard
against the narrow bed, springs creaking,
as he jerked his stench into her.

If I throw up I will die if I throw up I will...

She grieves for the child she forgot,
had to forget, but now
can no longer forget, nights
when her stomach churns
and the moon buries itself deep
into the innocent sky.

Poems from The Nature of Attraction by Pris Campbell & Scott Owens




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