“I have one favor to ask. Just one. Please?”
We were standing by the river’s edge, waiting for a small barge to take us across to Camp Westwind, where we planned to spend the weekend in rustic cabins without internet or cell service with a hundred strangers – all families of children in our kids’ school program. The ground by the pier was a complete bog.
“Please don’t get mud all over your shoes. Can you do that?” I asked my 8-year-old, N.
Some nights, you set up the telescope. Tonight, we lie on the blanket instead.
“Cygnus. Cepheus. Cassiopeia.” Your arm follows the sweep of the sky, like a caress.
Four inches from your hip and light years away, I hardly dare to breathe.
When you’re gone
my shoelaces come undone
I drop my keys
the kettle boils over
When you’re gone
the silk of my shirt
drags over the sore places
like the memory of teeth
Do you see it? That red glow,
low and clinging to the horizon,
unnerving in its ambiguity.
Even the stars recoil.
Oil and water, earth and sky—
I cannot reconcile them,
Embattled as they are—
Ardent and unmanned.
And so my children learn their place:
asymmetrical, the scales of power.
Were you about to argue?
You, with your injured pride?
I’d hold my tongue, if I were you.
You have nothing to fear.
In which I attempt an echo poem, which is harder than it seems. This one may have run off the rails a bit…
The day you gave a rose to me
the sun was bright, the sky was clear.
I kept that rose another year,
despite its sweet fragility.
The sun was pale, the sky was grey
when winter brought its weight to bear.
The frost could not be swayed to spare
The rose you gave to me that day.
A memoriam stanza – well, two stanzas, really.