December 19: a poem not new

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tonight there was one child with a meltdown over Legos (what else — those Lego designers should really make sturdier sets), a crying baby who wouldn’t fall asleep, much rain, much anguish on my part over the state of the affairs in the U.S., last lesson plans to grade, missing stamps, little peeves… So what can I say? I am going to reuse. Here is a poem that I submitted to a poetry magazine recently. It got rejected, which is usually what happens. I always get these lovely responses along of the lines of “we really liked your work, it just didn’t fit our magazine,” which is certainly nicer than a straightforward no. The Nisqually Delta is one of the most beautiful places in Western Washington.

It cracked: a secret act of opening (in the Nisqually Delta)

The last time I wintered here
in the ever green shade
I lay beside Robin in a red-clad barn.
Under the light of a single lamp,
resting our walking sticks by the door.
Robin sighed when we shared a bed,
made hastily from the last green grass,
looking away when I’d open my flask,
to let flow sweet thick flowers of poison.
I was too eager to share.

His chest would flutter and the shape of his heart could be seen.
You are deathly ill, I said, but he denied it.
To think that earlier that summer, girls were making his bed of hay,
offering him the most outrageous of sexual favors.
As frost was chewing on his wing feathers
and I built fires with invisible twigs,
we confessed to each other our terrible truths.

When he died at the threshold of spring,
from too much loving, he said,
I held his heart between two fingers,
it snapped like a wishbone at a holiday feast.
Someday my heart will crack like that and I will be free.


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