Brian MacDonald and Cyndle Plaisted Rials


Brian MacDonald
Created using Cyndle Plaisted Rials’s poem (below) as inspiration

Like X-Rays
By Cyndle Plaisted Rials

You in your physical body never appeared
in the dream—you were a concept hovering
at the edge of everything that happened: something about you
in the strange blue poppies that  bloomed in charmingly rapid
photosynthesis, the perfect desk
with cubbyholes and secret drawers—backdrop shot
through with a tinge of everything I have ever wished.

I sewed crow wings
to my shoulder blades.  More accurately, asked
you to, with your steady hand, not to mention
the unease I feel at the sight, the needle
gleaming dull
under a layer of pulled skin.  I opened
my new wings out in two arches
from my shoulders—they were like mountains
in the dark.

In the morning I was a reckless brightness,
soul alone in whisperland, you a silent
something elsewhere, in a place of packages
and barcodes,
an exact world.

I think of the people around you, filing
by in heavy thick-soled boots, gleaming black
against the dirty thirsty snow.  Who are they?
Not the soul-saving brigade.  But forget
about them.  I’m trying to, writing you
this letter in the sky over this house, so cloud-wispy
and real.  You see the shapes
of my close-mouth words?  I will try to make a sound
for you.



Brian MacDonald
Inspiration piece provided to Cyndle Plaisted Rials

Summer Silhouette
By Cyndle Plaisted Rials

Ghost shadows, bent letters like hieroglyphs, no rosetta
for summer, summer that is here, summer
that is leaving, something drifting to the deep end—
is it too deep, this thing I want to tell you?  It is more than the letters

that make the words that form the sentences that tumble,
yellow and pink, from my lips.  My silhouette is brazen
with secrets, with the curved shapes
of desire, with the way silhouettes intermingle—what is whose?

All signs point in different directions—some are water-smooth
yeses, and these are the ones that dance.  I know you’re not here
but you are somewhere listening, and for that I want to leave you
more words, more bright words

than you or I will ever know what to do with and I want to leave out all the commas so you know just how breathless I am and I would never do that otherwise you know because I am usually so precise in my grammar.  But this time I am a reflection of water—not so much a thing,

but the suggestion of movement—movement that moves away
to where?  Only to you.  Only out in steady waves that have no end and no way of stopping and no reason for wanting to be stopped and the wind
only helps.

I don’t care who plays me in the movie version of this because
I was already the siren, I already heard someone speaking
this to me out loud like it was already made, as if the words
were just hanging in the air for the intervening years, waiting

for me to pull them down, make boats out of them,
put candles in them, and send them floating to you.   I know these sounds
and I know your sounds and they drift in on a current
like sleep—the drift is over and it’s morning and you’ve arrived.  It’s no secret

around here that I’m falling into this—the stunned daylilies
watched me pine and they were the first to know
when I wore a pink dress with squiggles
on it that looked like the letters for the word “love”

and they shook their heads in the wind
but I didn’t care—I just let my braids loose
and jumped into the dappled circling water
in the dress made of love and I sat on the bottom in the deep end
looking up at the sky until shadows on the sun
made your silhouette.


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