by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

She drags the dragon through the setting sun.
It parts the orange ocean with its claws.
There is no string. She wields the beast, the run
of tail over the water silk, by caw:
a song to summon spirits from the dirt. 
Her voice stampedes the murmur of black veins
that plead us please fill raw this earth.
With shivering gold wings, the dragon tames
a brewing war stuck deep in belly's gut.
Silent are all who watch her trick the wind.
They cannot smile or grin or laugh or cut
a word from blocks of words or mend
their longing to fly high as kites. They puff
their pipes while she, so far from them, smokes night.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam lives in Texas with her partner and two literarily-named cats: Gimli and Don Quixote. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in magazines such as Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, and Daily Science Fiction. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast program and reviews short fiction at her blog, Short Story Review. You can visit her on Twitter @BonnieJoStuffle or through her website.

She says, "the word cherry brings to mind not a published poem but a poem submitted to one of my poetry workshops at the University of North Texas. One of the students brought in a poem about eating cherries at a crooked table and at first piling the pits into a bowl. By the end of the poem, the main character was instead allowing the cherry pits to roll off the table. It was a beautiful, tactile poem that, to me at the time, meant not resisting the chaos of your life, of letting life happen rather than trying to control it. I don't remember the poet's name, and after that workshop I didn't see her again."

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