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Lavonne Westbrooks  (email)


About the Poet:

Lavonne currently works in the legal department of a major communications company.  In her spare time she designs wedding cakes and does free-lance graphic design.


She has a tattoo now, in the small of her back,
Spidery Japanese that meant fidelity,
Vestige of a previous relationship
Which cracked her world in half.
She can't see it except in the mirror.

At dinner her father made a point to tell her,
"Women with tattoos in the small of their backs
Can't have an epidural during childbirth."
She told him, "Well, I'll probably never have children."
As if the thought did not worry her.

She was strong enough to weave her web of life
When she ventured into this world,
But now she spends her time repairing
Torn holes and pretending the web is a finished work,
Refusing to begin again.

I was so proud of the web I wove
And so happy to send her into the world.
Sure her talent for weaving was as good as mine.
But the completeness of my web mocks her and
Now she rarely comes home.

She does not see that I, too, strain
To knot broken strands.
She has not learned that no web starts out right.
Or ends up perfect.
Some webs merely survive.



Bloody Pearls

The bloody pearls lay along the slit
in her neck as if they had made good
a dare for her to wear them.

I saw her body
between the two buildings
because I was looking out a third floor window
while most of the neighborhood
was gathered at the end of the alley.

I spend a lot of time looking out
the third floor window.

I saw her walk the
avenue many evenings
but recently heard she
had a job in a hospital
and so she began dressing
up in the mornings
instead of the evenings.

She should have known better;
I know better;
I've never seen anyone wear
pearls on the avenue.



I don't know London

Lying in grass, drinking blackberry wine I watch two hawks arguing territory with crow.

Ee-ow, ee-ow, I call. They respond,
settle differences; quiet descends.

Never been to Spain or Africa or any Asian country, only London when I was five. I remember Father

Christmas left presents on my cot; snow there
looks like Christmas cards but those are memories.

Crow and hawk are mine, I know this place.
I walk these woods, toe first, then heel like the deer



The Chilled Air

Across my street

is a telephone pole

and beside it

is a white cross

marking the last stand

of a boy fleeing the police.


Last summer

I drove a stretch

of highway where

a string of thirty seven crosses

shouted names at me

as I passed.


Again today,

one quarter mile away,

three boys dared to

test the physics of

an object in motion

and lost.


The chill

of lost children

hangs in the air,


to my skin.

This fall, air is colder.





an S-curve silhouette

patters in the bathroom.

Jars and bottles

tapping on the counter.

Frogs begin peep-singing,

heard through

the window screen.



her match is already

drowsy and dreaming

of puzzle-piecing

the night.