2 Poems by Peter Mladinic


She casts a spell on a man.
She knows how. The secret
is in her dark flashing eyes,
and it is a secret.
She’s not telling anyone.
It’s better kept secret
from all, except herself.
She knows how.

Some things about herself
she doesn’t know. But this one
she knows, for she must
because she does it very well.
What’s her secret?
How does she cast her spell?
She’s not telling.
Better not to whisper

even one word about it.
It happens slowly,
at times quickly, in silence.
It’s good. The spell itself
is good. The man, as if
hypnotized, under her spell,
does what she wants,
which is fine, pleasing
both to him and her.

Enchantress, I imagine
sitting under a tarp
in the woods, out of the rain,
the rain all around me,
falling all around me.
That summer rain
is the nearness of you.


Ed Craig, the big mystery was we never saw the nuns’ hair.
In classrooms, the convent, the big dark church
their hair stayed hidden.
You were bright, that showed in your grades.
Did you ever wonder what Sister James with her alabaster skin
and aquiline nose looked like with her habit off?
Her Sister of Charity habit’s rim like white accordion pleats
squared her long face,
white pleats at the start of her long black habit.
Take the vow: don’t show your hair,
the deal they made as Christ’s brides. I never saw Sister’s hair,
nor the hair of Sister Carmela or Sister Gerard or Sister Regina.
Sister Vincent, I heard, lives with a woman in New Hampshire.
How many left the convent, the order?
When habits’ white pleats framed their faces the mass
was in Latin. When Latin left the mass the pleats were gone.
A round crescent circled faces different from ones
we answered to and obeyed.
Sister Vincent took off her habit in the convent.
I wanted her hair in my mouth.

Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press.  He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.