Author: Cheri Paris Edwards
•7:17 PM

I stride the bend, legs warming.
At the turn, the moon greets.
Unwilling to relinquish night’s flow,
she blusters brilliant. Irrepressibly
fading, she glowers nonchalant--
transparent in her reluctance to be
outshone by a sun--brighter, warmer,
perhaps more important than she.

Wind-wakened now, I welcome the
familiar sound--rhythmic slapping
of white rubber greeting black. I span
my oblong friend, at a pace brisk this
early morn. Ahead, darkened treetops
press high; brushing sky streaks lavender,
deep orange and blue, hinting the
moon’s rule will soon end.

Round seven. I breathe strong, even--
today’s battle all but over.
Petulant, the moon submits, too.
She blinks first, ceding the crown.
Eclipsing slowly into darkness--
her reign subdued by unwitting
victor, the Sun. Patient, he’s waited.
His triumph certain.

His lazy smile tinges the horizon,
I welcome his warmth on my face.
Brightness blooms as his grin
spreads wide. And, Victor lays a
soft-glowing claim to the day.

© Cheri Paris Edwards 2007
Author: Cheri Paris Edwards
•2:48 PM
adjective love

When I was young,
I thought love gentle
like the whisper of
a soft-lipped mama
kiss pressed against
my forehead.

Later love heated
warm and sweet,
feelings singing like
hot-buttered soul music.
Guileless, love sought,
all in another.

In time, love stiffened,
tasks governing, bills
gotta be paid,
love is
responsible. Dutiful,
love drops the kids at the
school. Meets for some
personal communing
time. Or not.

Both of us aged now,
like a worn top, love
unwinds. Adjectively
adapts. Hard, soft,
smooth, round. Tough,
gentle. Practical. Warm.
Cool. Hot. Precious.

© Cheri Paris Edwards 2007

Entered AROHO 1/15; Submitted Rattle 2/09
Author: Cheri Paris Edwards
•2:46 PM
“won’t you come home,
bill bailey?”

eyes shuttered, I tumble in.
awkward like the high-painted
clowns in bill bailey’s traveling
circus. their antics sprung for
laughs, mine real. garrulous,
feet squeezed into ill-fitting
red pumps, I teeter on the
high wire just missing disaster,
saved, "--no applause, please,"
by the fall.

pink cotton-candy buttons
melt from your tongue. they
whistle a sweet lull-song
tempting me to tell the whole
truth, nothing but the truth,
so help me God.

but, no barking "true life
story," wrapped in rainbow
colors headline this big top
show. only silence and a
lip-glossed smile.

© Cheri Paris Edwards 2007
Author: Cheri Paris Edwards
•2:37 PM
dance with me

crackling leaves blaze yellow,
burn orange hot like autumn sun.
cool azure sky glints through
branched windows. sun rays jump
jaunty like jitterbuggers jiving
on concrete dance floors. flickering
lights give way to moon full bright.
dark skies clear, chill limbs stiff.
trees lean left reluctant pressed
by winds foretelling frigid coming.
morning rises, warms, heats hot.
dance begins again. leaves flutter,
burn red, falling brown. trees sigh,
bare-limbs forlorn. fall dance over.

© Cheri Paris Edwards 2007
Author: Cheri Paris Edwards
•2:13 PM
afro-ed times

we wore Afros, heavy with moistness
from the muggy, summer night.
sweet as syrup soul music serenaded.
Eddie Kendricks asking tenderly, Can I?
from car radio speakers turned up loud.

and riding through Naptown streets
we sang along, certain we were living the
new day, forecast in big city homes and small.
Big Mama and Pop-pop, Cousin Lulabelle,
Aunt Noonie and Uncle Joe--those living
with little, and those with a little more--
sowed our tomorrows, in black and white
television scenes promising redemption.

grainy images flicker a world in reverse.
dogs track, people yowl, water hoses
blast streams of hate, pushing songs
of we shall overcome down crowded
Mississippi streets. blue-uniforms running--
batons high, chasing, catching, beating,
but not conquering the dream.

we shall overcome, some day, they sang.
and afros waving, cool leavened with
spliffed-lassitude, we quoted Angela Davis
and the Last Poets on steamy summer nights.
slugged by certitude that someday--today,
times ain’t a-changing, but already changed.
Or so it seemed.

© Cheri Paris Edwards 2007