The Fold

I’m so honored to have this poem published in Third Wednesday near one by Ted Kooser. Fine company indeed! This poem is also included in my poetry collection I lost summer somewhere.

The Fold

          “The corners of death fold us into ourselves”
– Loretta Diane Walker

Mother and I are sniping. This visit
has been that way. The farm is rundown
as she is now at 94, bent over her walker,
bare-knuckled in her independence.
She says I mumble. I say she never listens.
We know this game. I’m packing to go home,
and she calls, “Do you want breakfast?”
I mutter yes, knowing she won’t hear.
It starts again.

I’m her favorite and visit least. I’ll look back
on this weekend, feel guilt. She will win
another round. This time when we hug goodbye,
there are no tears. As I drive away I glance
back to make sure she’s in the doorway,
watching.

Sarah Russell
First published in Third Wednesday
Painting by Mark Tinsdale

 

Living Too Long

“. . . we learned the cost of attachment.”

David Sloan, a poet from Maine, captures aging and frustration in this poem about chickens.  There’s a great interview with David on The Houseboat — a blog I highly recommend, that has an eclectic assortment of artists and poets.  Read the interview about his writing process here.

 

Some nights I feel I’ve lived too long,
when the moon’s a squint-eyed mute,

oak branches turn fish bones,
and the wind’s a whimper.

I hobble out to the shed, our old chicken
coop.  How you’d loved those hens,

made the mistake of naming them —
Blackie, Maude, the rest.  We never figured

out how the owl got in, but we learned
the cost of attachment.  The path I cleared

through the woods is overgrown now,
so I lean against the maples in the yard.

How many more tattered moons
will seek me out?  You embrace this waning,

but I can’t find a way to love the less.
You said, Yes, we lose leaves, but we gain sky.

I say, Give me back my legs.  Let me
scale this tree, turn panther, pounce

on an owl under a hatching moon,
pillow the night with a fury of feathers.

– David Sloan
from his book The Irresistible In-Between