The schoolgirl

I am not at home.
How white my bed sheets are.
My small bed seeps dreams,
The moon is bare in trees,
It has no face or mouth;

Nor the schoolroom clock,
Parts, bits, cogs.
Departures, departures, the track
Of time empties white into a distance
Tap. Tap. Tap. I find myself waiting.

I am a pulse, a rehearsal attends me
Like a nurse; she is flatness, a dead socket.
I sit at my desk with cold angels, I saw
Their death in a holy book.
As I read, it emptied itself of its promise.

I remember the minute when I knew for sure,
I could see the dangers coming for me, I saw
My world in it— small, mean and black.
Every word hooked to every other word
Like swarms of fish, swaddled in a cold sea.

I was not ready. I thought I could deny the
Consequences. The nun stitched her beliefs
Into me like a rare organ, I did not look.
Terrible students injure me with their white eyes.
I hold my fingers up in prayer, ten pickets leaking

From the cracks in my soul. It widens and dies
In a room papered with psalms. They are not quiet.
Let us make a heaven, they say. Darkness hoods
Me in blue, like the virgin. I am engulfed and drown
In a religion. Can nothing be so prodigal?

Copyright © 05/31/2019 lance sheridan®

The schoolgirl

Alice the conjurer

Winging through the persistent dark,
Blunt night, vaunting stars,
The jackdaw — a witches’ cauldron bird;
Impromptu, Alice conjures up a spell from
A Grimoire and yawping crow’s foot brew.

She travels through the looking-glass where
Flamingos play croquet on slippery grass,
Where playing cards paint roses and little girls tell fibs;
From the Queen of hearts she receives a
Tarted sentence — Be off with her pretty young head!

But Alice turns a sleight-of-hand using the white rabbit
Hat and magic wand, turns the queen into a
Jabberwocky — That’s banging, no it’s not quarreled the
Tweedle twins; I think it’s time to sneaker sneak, retorted the
Cheshire cat. And off to the Mock turtle soupy sea they went.

Perhaps we’ll have some soup with our tea, said the Hatter king,
On the Island where mushrooms and cabbages grow;
But I don’t want to go, said Alice as she looked a little puzzled,
It doesn’t serve my purpose! I’d rather go down a cottontail hole!
Do you suppose though if the rabbits will let me warren?

It seems a shame, the looking-glass said, to play upon
You such a trick! Whereupon Alice took a handkerchief and
Dried her massive tears. The moon was shining sulkily when
Alice awoke rather curiouser from a sleep — Do you suppose,
She asked her March hare, was this real or all of it just a dream?

Copyright © 01/31/2018 lance sheridan®


The sand grain witness

The sand. the sand grain desert sand. a wind sweeps along
an arid earth, takes it in its mouth to satisfy its desire for

moisture. with blinded eyes, it seeks the darkness in the
light. it moves in a circular motion, walks sideways to

feel its shadow; losing itself on the crest of a dune, the
shadow in the depth of a sea; so drowns the moisture;

a prophet man sows the sand, reaps the grain; under the
silence of the sun. he breathes the rain, brushes his hand

along the desert texture, his fingers paint his face. he does
not seek the false truth. speaks with a languid artesian well

voice. he eats the night air, he is not afraid. crosses a barren
land like a child’s pull toy; the heat fill his sandals with cold

from desolation; his soul dangles from a watch chain; the
timepiece glass cracks from a second hand ticking backwards,

backwards. rest he bequests in an oasis, the mirage envelopes;
thin, fragile layers of imagination tempt him, hunger kisses him,

he eats the fruit, sown in the cold desolation of his desert soul
willing time forward; seeking to leave the gritty reality of barrenness,

moisture seeping slowly into a body desiccated from
the journey across the sandy desert his life had become

feels once again the warm coursing of hope through
a heart cold and empty

startles at the rhythm of his heart; remembering the beat of life
long denied from too much pain barely endured

the sand shifting as he moves again
wind gentle with the music not heard for so long

movement forcing him over the last dune
out of the frozen heat and back into

a landscape painted by colors
of a life to be lived.

Copyright © 01/31/2013 lance sheridan®


A long walk out of a fairy tale

she was a wayfarer, a puddle muddy
water jumper

so because the wooded forest
was left a stumper tree
in the shallow root

by the double bladed axe

so because there were no more
wooded bridges

elves and gnomes disappeared
like children’s sleds

when they stepped into bigger shoes;

she puddle wet damp foot caught
the cold to pass

time in reverie or inaction, the fairy tale
was hours away, so because
it was a notion

grandfather clocks have grandfather souls inside

forty day period, quarantine for the house
guest so because he cheated

on her life love with the
involuntary gambit

she be sitting on the poignant chair,
it painfully affected her feelings,

so because of the dirt path back
and the disturbing

sheep on a dirt path to avoid wolf in clothing

she dressed in the cool summer dress,
hand painted inside a mind affected

by the dry rain weather so because
of no umbrella, gave it to
the sheep to disguise

he adjacent at a joint after plunking
her aggie in the street play,

so because he tried to boss
out the fairy tail
love scene

soda fountain jerk like a crime boss syndicate

she watches the stopwatch, not for
the accuracy, but for the

quicksand warning, so because no
allowed swimming, only thirty
minutes after eating

now she waits for the dragon slayer
white horse knight
bachelor man,

so because she was deeply
wound bandaged loved,

like wwi french soldiers in
muddy trenches,

awakens next morn living alone
so because she chose the

solidarity common age
spinster opinion,

also to charwoman clean when
cobwebs from a fairy tale cling

so because of marbles, dirt paths
and sowed dragon’s teeth.

Copyright © 04/11/2013 lance sheridan®


Flowers for a bride

What through lavender flowers only witness
Such pact as should be made once only; what matter
The owl’s voice while nightingale’s song
Cheerfully approves of marital bliss; let the moon
In brightness stand still to laud man and wife
Whose blessed act all coming hearts do join.

The sun daylong in cloisters of light with savor
Brightens dreamily so, a paragon of constance,
It seeks a sacrament from the wedlock,
Love’s proper chapel— a babtismal cleansing gently.
Their bodies are white pebbles blessed by the holy mother,
Sacred and bare; they have never been so pure.

From this day on, all sins washed away, the threshold of
Dawn breathing like angels. The tongues of God’s
Animals rejoice; in the temple of marriage, the sprouting
Fruit. flowers, children to bear; saint Joseph speaking
His proclamation— let flesh be of one, poor of chaste,
Be nourished in faith; breathe forth their souls in praise.

Copyright © 05/18/2019 lance sheridan®

Flowers for a bride


Day of reckoning: day of abandon

in the midday street,
with the small child hands
letting the heart balloon

filled with milk and honey
lap the wind,
passing all the dream houses

where the puppet-people live
unaware, how they dwindle
laughs, kisses, blink they are gone

and forbid any flower to be
vivid at their side
or placed in an empty bottle

waiting for water, or two drops
from a tear, it is all quite clear-
the beauty, the wit, eyes shut

when the moon’s celestial onion
dangles light to prove the
night exists, it sees nothing of this

as our prayer hands stiffen with
holiness, we pray for the face of
an effigy, we pray for silence.

Copyright © 05/14/2019 lance sheridan®


If you forget me

My silence is a worm-hole in the
Small cramped dark night hell.
The pulse of your hate jumps under
My thumb like a scalpel, anonymous
Surgeon. I am no longer capable of
Affection. It follows me around like a
Black-eyed shadow, haunting grievance.

Take what is your mouth, it is a marvelous
Object in your terrible room. Take my eyes
Which went away like two canyons. My hands
Are full of blindness. Wrap me in a cloth and
Place me on a sledge drawn into the opening
Of my womb. I am in trance state visited by the
Deceased, forging as priests, the link between

The visible world and the netherworld. This funerary
Rite is a ritual of bringing statues to life. I will begin
A new journey. I am pure coming forth from the grave.
Do not utter my sacred name, neither too much
Or too little. I will prosper involving divinity, a cleansing,
Depicted in the hands of nearly every goddess. I
Am the pure gold woman, the stain of you no longer tarnishes.

Copyright © 05/11/2019 lance sheridan®

If you forget me