The philodendron in the kitchen corner has a history
with its heart-shaped leaves and the ability to resurrect.
When we were young we rode horses by a creek, remembering
when we were even younger and our parents laughed.
Heat is a leech, of energy, of good manners --
in the gutter, piles of rotting fruit.
It is as though I am two people, or many people
and can’t enjoy life if someone else is suffering.
Random slats of light through blinds,
a hollow hammering on the roof, the clacking of a jay.
How hard it is sometimes to think of the ongoingness of life --
hair and fingernails to cut, clothes to wash, to iron, to buy.
Someone said so long ago:
“You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”
When he was here, I felt the cold emptiness of the house
but he has taken it with him.
The only image I remember from the dream last night:
a man falling out of a tree.
The “I” and the “he” are not yet separate.
The mirror of my shadow self remains.
Depression -- the colors flat, no joy -- Elizabeth calls it
a gift, the narrowing down, the knowing exactly who you are.
When I look in the mirror, I am hoping, finally, to see
my twenty-year-old body restored.
A young man is reading what he has written to a young woman,
her small foot in his lap, rubbing his hand in circles over her thin thigh.
Dreaming, before midnight, of a crowd of women with knives.
Just when I thought someone was on my side, she stabbed me.
I slept soundly, waking only once
and then sat up suddenly, disoriented, as though drugged.
I was dreaming of a memorial in a garden for one who had died.
An animal was loose in the garden -- an elephant.
One very handsome man out of many tiered as in a yearbook page
sat with his chin in his hand, modeling his own face like clay.
When I see my shadow on the sidewalk, it is leaning
like a divining rod, perfidiously toward my grave.
I met a woman walking under an umbrella, wearing red shorts.
“I always put my foot in my mouth,” she said.
The end of the world came not as you might imagine
but with a gentle, relentless rain, creeks rising, ecstatic
music playing, ecstatic women dancing, moving in both
directions of the road, in crosscurrents of foam.
Writer / Teacher
The Chattahoochee Review, The Montserrat Review, Poetry International, Antigonish, The Louisville Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Salt Hill, etc.
Now that I am in the Light I See (Konocti Books, 1996)
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