Thursday, August 19, 2010

Driving Home, Spring 2008

The Sichuan earthquake in south central China killed at least 80,000 people and left more than 5 million homeless.


The road

is outlined

five, six, ten deep

with people


who gather to its warmth

hang from its length.


Your eyes in my headlights

are slivers in midnight's deep gray

grasping for your child,


powerless to wrench him

from road's belly.


The road,

your last belonging.


With this piece, I would really like to hear what you think works and what does not work. Could a few of you let me know what you think is happening in the poem and what it poem is saying? That would be really helpful.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Upon Returning

Many people I know (myself included) are standing at shifts in life. The years right after college seem to be filled with changes, leaving behind people, places and ways of being that we had grown used to. Here is a piece that I wrote specifically about my return to the US after studying in Lithuania, but it applies to any stage of life we are leaving behind.

You will hold tight to the string

and measure the distance

between you and the diamond

of those days, the kite

that whips and twirls

against your memory.


Three weeks, you will count,

since you and Ana

biked to the beach

to look for amber after the storm.

Five months since the

landlady handed you your key

and just ten days

since the corner bakery

and the peach pastries with Andi.


Nadia's long blue scarf,

Luan's Albanian rock,

the frozen dumplings

fried in olive oil,

the child with the kitten

in the next apartment—

all floating far above your head.


Up, up the kite flies

over photo albums,

past letters and phone calls,

behind the entry-level job

and new friends.


You stand beneath it,

reaching for Andi and Nadia,

for the kitten, and the dumplings,

but they are in the kite in the sky

floating further and further away.


So you return to the ivy-grown

apartment and retrace your steps

from the bus stop to the market

where you bought the tomatoes,

hoping to find the kite

on the ground somewhere

or to see it hovering over the ferry

and run and catch it and pull it down.


But the winds won't relent.

And so you will look at the string

in your hand and follow its line up and up


and finally watch the diamond

growing more obscure

thinking how beautiful it is

against the backdrop of the sun

and the leafless trees.    

            Spring 2008

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ella in Her Armchair

Hands folded,

I am breathing her in.


My open eyes adjust to the dim room

and her silhouette against Venetian blinds.

She perches in the armchair.


Undaunted by silence,

we are both listening.


Tick—tick, grandmother clock.

My heart beats,

Her ribcage rises.


The well-worn wing-back

upholds a formal distance.

Once they shared a kindred bond—

Proper both, but also tender.


Now its arms awkwardly protrude.

Hesitant to embrace,

it is afraid like me in my shortened breaths


to find it cannot take her in.

The reverberations of her life have been

widening since they met while


her earth-grain skin slips undisturbed

through floral upholstery onto the floor

beneath wooden baseboards.


With Strong German Self-Assurance,

and a spine shriveled, curved,

and slowly diminishing, she perches.


Spring 2007