My jealous cat demands my lap
though piled with books and pen and pad
—with words escaping from my head—
my half-grown and possessive cat
—though getting much too big for that—
will wait until I’m settled down
then put himself between my eyes
and whatever I am looking at.
MEANT FOR EACH OTHER
You will find her on a lone road—coming
out of the trees, maybe, or simply standing
under the gray threat of rain when you drive
by in your car . . .
or maybe she will be in a bar somewhere,
twisting slightly on the barstool, shaking her
foot to her dark thoughts, and you will be
there to save her thoughts, for you know
how to save her . . .
or in a bookstore, she may be concentrating
down the aisles to where you are, and she
will glance at you when you glance at her,
and maybe you will be reaching for the same
book . . .
or she may be at some carnival or fair—laughing in
simple pleasure, at a ride, or game, or sideshow—
and she will turn away at the last moment—or you
will—and you will miss each other, as you always do.
pages crushed and brittle
between old leather slipping into
the heavy shadows of the room
the table filled with random objects:
the jug of wine the wine glass,
the dark shape
that waits to be defined:
old leather old shadows old wine
all smell the same
THE GREEK FESTIVAL
We had Greek coffee,
meat on a stick
and a damp pastry.
We looked at the
cultural displays and books,
the jewelry, the art.
I bought two necklaces.
a Greek cap.
We watched the crowd-dancers
gather below stage-level where
the Greek musicians played:
Children at first, some in costume;
then two women,
one in high heels, one in a festival apron;
then some men…
then more children and
a row of boys
who did a fast three turns around the others.
We sat on the audience-chairs
and tried to move our feet
in semblance to the patterns.
(First pub. in UVTM: Universal Voices That Matter, 1996)
this new line
these typewritten pages
these published books
until the table is
covered with coffee cups and
soft gray ashes—
A helicopter overhead. Blue evening at
the window. TV
Books in hand, they separate toward
he to couch, and she to bed.
The orange sun has fallen
from the day, making one statement more
for them to speak:
They glance and say: Oh yes, they love
the view . . . Oh yes, it is so beautiful . . .
It is enough . . .
The twilight trees become old silhouettes,
like they are. The helicopter
flaps and drones—as if to stay.
They frown and glance
away from that annoyance and finish their
errand of goodnight—that separation.
I am lying here in my old dress, reading poetry on a high bed.
There are nine pictures on the walls, all of women in poses of
supplication and joy; in moods of reflection and serenity. I am
sleeps on my knees. A teddy bear in shiny cellophane on a
dresser top is waiting to be a gift, as we all are. It will not
smother there, not until it is loved. A teardrop mirror by
the door never sees my face; my face is always blurring
past it in the middle of nights as my hands grope familiar
darkness too dark for mirrors.
I learn to sleep sideways
in a narrow bed.
My books confine me.
My dreams are made of thread.