Not a dive’s precision arc.
Instead a lemming run and plunge,
oblivious to depth,
water’s in the pool.
Cynics shake their heads.
“Only a fool…” they say.
“Yes, yes!” I answer,
and drop my towel.
Loose roof shingles —
a couple on the ground
after last night’s wind
when the trees creaked
and rubbed themselves
like old men. Can’t put off
the mending. I loved once,
before I knew how love
works, how roofs leak
when it rains.
We found a stream that night
away from everywhere but us –
water voices whispering,
the honey of first times,
wind feathery on urgent skin.
Perhaps a folly, our rush
into together and tomorrow –
forever’s promissory note
before the debt of everyday.
Let’s go back
and lie beside the stream again,
listen for the water voices,
feel the wind’s breath
before we disappear.
For fifty years
she wrote to Yolanda
in foreign prose,
sharing secrets as she once did
walking home from school –
Argentina and girlhood
a lifetime ago.
Reality: three kids, then grandkids,
a troubled husband, an aging mother,
an Arkansas farm.
Yet every letter promised
that someday she’d return.
Now they are on the tarmac
stooped, with the uncertain step of age.
Words catch in their throats
as their hands caress the other’s cheeks,
wipe away the other’s tears,
and their eyes see only
the girls they were –
their secrets safe.
– Sarah Russell
For Poets United prompt “reunions“
Photo by Grace Robertson
Note: In 1993, my husband and I took his mother to Argentina where she had spent her childhood. This was perhaps my favorite memory of our trip.
“the smell of earth turned by a trowel…”
I’ve grown quiet here. My mind
has opened to woodsong
and the smell of earth turned
by a trowel.
I enjoy solitude, even when regrets
or the throb of an old lover happen by.
Sometimes I invite them in, make
a ritual of teacups on starched linen,
a silver server for the scones.
We reminisce ’til shadows trace
across the floor, call them away.
Afterwards, I tidy up, wipe away
drops spilled in the pouring. I save
the leftovers though they’re getting stale.
I may crumble them on the porch rail
tomorrow for sparrows
before I garden.
I close my eyes as a young woman
massages in shampoo, gently rubs
my temples, smooths cream rinse —
scented with jasmine — from my brow,
and you are here with me again
that summer day under the waterfall.
Start with a kiln-dry summer day,
when the earth cracks with longing,
and sweat makes tracks between your breasts.
The air’s so still you hear a beetle scuttle
on the screen, the sun dims in a sullen sky,
and crickets stop chirping. Maybe they know
what’s coming, or they’re tired of asking.
Then it starts – the first lazy drops –
and when the wooden porch step’s dappled,
you go out and lift your face to the embrace
and breathe in the mix of dust and rain
like a lover’s musk.
“You must let me go, Tomás…”
OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a hopeless romantic, and Will Pennington’s series of poems and fiction about Susanna captures lost love so poignantly that I asked if I could reblog his latest poem. To read more of the Susanna series, please visit Will’s site, and let him know your thoughts.
Is she the one, Susanna?
I do not know, Tomás.
You must know, Susanna.
She makes me think of you.
She is not me.
I want you back, Susanna.
I’m dead, Tomás.
You died too soon.
Why? Why? Tell me.
I do not know why, Tomás. It was my time to die.
It isn’t fair.
Life is not always fair.
Sasi makes me feel the way you did.
Then you must be with her.
What if I forget you?
You must forget me to be happy with Sasi.
I lost half of my heart when you died.
Then Sasi must replace that part of your heart.
No, Susanna. I can’t.
Yes, Tomás. You must.
I don’t want to forget you. You have the piece of my heart that makes me whole.
You must let me go, Tomás, so you can find love and happiness again.
If Sasi is the one, she will hold the piece of your heart that makes you whole.
Yes. Love makes the heart whole, not the person, Tomás.
Do you love Sasi?
I’m falling in love with her, Susanna.
You must be fair to her, Tomás, and let her love you.
You must forget me to love her, Tomás, or you won’t be happy.
Then I won’t be happy, Susanna.
I love you, Susanna.
I love you, Tomás.
– Will Pennington
Jimmy Pappas was instrumental in introducing me to a cadre of wonderful poets through Goodreads who commiserate, critique one another’s work, and share common goals in our writing. Jimmy is a Vietnam vet who will publish two books of poetry this year about his time in Vietnam. Jimmy told me the poem I chose to share is one of the first ones he published. You can learn more about Jimmy Pappas and his poetry here.
When it was time
to wake me up
to go fishing,
he stood at the end
of the bed and held
my foot in his hands
as if it were a piece
of crystal, the way
he must have done
when I was a baby,
but I was too tired
to wake up and
too young to understand
how much he needed
me to be his son.
– Jimmy Pappas
First published in Poetry Breakfast
“. . .no two people had ever been farther apart. ‘
Mark Shirey grapples with both unrequited love and cultural norms in this sensitive, introspective poem. Mark is a member of my poetry workshop group which has met every other Saturday morning for 3 1/2 years.
I bought her a graduation gift at the Art Museum store –
a long, gold necklace that would glow on her brown skin
and follow her neck in graceful twirling arcs.
I wished the nights in the computer lab would never end,
spent with my beautiful Indian dancing friend.
When she went to India on a semester break, I looked at the moon
and thought no two people had ever been farther apart.
When she and her lily-white beau took a break, she was mine for a week.
When they got back together, she’d return to my mind forever.
I put the wrapped box on the table with other gifts.
Among the guests, saris and bindis, I danced and mingled.
I asked, “How do you tell which ones are single?”
“The married ones wear long, gold chains given to them by their husbands.”
– Mark Shirey