Three Poems by Cassie Mannes

Flood Season                                                                                 

This is before electricity. The calm, cool end-of-summer winds
waft through screened windows of yellow kitchens. Dusty shoes
left in the foyers of plantation houses leave
their mustang aroma. Lightning bugs dart in full frenzy
hope for a chance with kerosene lamps they lust over.
Burned again.

The house falls asleep to masturbating crickets. Cows,
on their bellies, predict rain. It’s like Mars, in a greenhouse,
during the Industrial revolution.

This is July.
Mosquitos attracted to the sweet smell of freckled arms. Calamine lotion
has not yet been invented. It will be the third day of rain;
bodies rush through towns like bloated floaters in the pool.
Couples linger under sheets and sweat.
It bakes their worn ankles and thundered thighs.

This rain will kill your brother.
It will leave your mother hysterical, leaning over a balcony.
Fathers will be stuck in mills to wait out the night. In their dreams,
they will curse Mother Nature: she makes love like a hurricane;
one eye open. Wives lie in beds alone, listening to drop, drop, drop.

This is what it feels like to be lonely.
The wind is not calm, or cool, it is not the end of summer.
Flowers burst from wombs of green, beginning their own revolution.
They gossip until one is picked.
Now, they’re silent.
This is what you missed while sleeping.


Catholic Upbringing

I can hear ringing
of church bells
in suburban bicycles.

Echoes, of God’s yellow hand
against air.
Permanent tattoos of
“Our Father”
in heads of young Catholic girls
(wistful as me).

Hands clammy with everyday worry.
Boys, lonely as a finger.

For me,
it’s hard enough
abandoned by first love.
Laid over a bed
like a work shirt,
hotel room,
drunken friends downstairs.

Sunday school
taught all of us
virginity is more righteous
than suicide.

It sits on a throne
higher than homosexual monogamy;
the safe place
one man’s heart
can put another’s.

But we’re all touch,
all skin,
all feelings like sweat.

We sit here,
trying to save ourselves
in the silent sack
of the present.
Letting “Hail Mary’s”
surface through each pore.


Poem for a Pedophile          

For the courageous Jess

This is for all the cats
you stroked down the back
wishing your fingers
were rubbing ribs of school girls.

For the 12-year olds
walking into living rooms,
towels around their waists and heads,
light fairy hairs
sticking at the nape of their necks.

For the hard-on
in your jeans
while their mother eats
in the loveseat next to you.

Their cluelessness,
your stealth.

For the spots of blood
on her Fruit-of-the-Loom
underwear, the first time.
Afterwards, the smell of your
fingers like baby powder.

For the few nights they sleep
in Barbie pink sheets.
Before they even wonder
what it will be like to kiss
a boy, you watch them.

Praying at night that
nothing will give them courage
to even whisper what you’ve done.

More poetry at Used Furniture.


  1. Cassie – these poems are stunning.

  2. Meg – Thank you so much. It’s been a long time comin’. I’m glad you liked them.

  3. David James says:

    Such wonderful poetry, Ms.Mannes. Where can I read more of your stuff?

    • These are the very first poems I’ve written that have been taken. But, I have a blog if you click on my name…it doesn’t have poems usually though. Thanks for your kind words!

  4. These are lovely, Cass. I hope you know that you are my most favourite poet.

  5. Cassie,
    These are strong, brilliant and brave images that resonate!!! Memorable and they leave a punch behind. Knock the wind out of you!!! Can’t wait to see more of your work!!! Hope you’re getting it out there!!! xoxoox

  6. Dear Cassie,
    These poems are brilliant, powerful and pack a punch! They knock the wind out of you!!! I cannot wait to see more of your work out there. Hope you’re sending it out!!!! xoxoox

  7. Rebecca J. Lower says:

    In Flood Season, “Fathers” is not possessive. The line about the masturbating crickets felt really cheap, like it was meant to shock without adding anything of value to the work. Sorry I can’t be as gushing as the other people.

  8. These poems blew my brains out. Absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to read more of your work.

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