Notes in a Drawer

Some sweep errors of the past under rugs;
I am a corner-of-the-bottom-drawer girl.

Some months ago, maybe five, maybe six,
it became time to no longer bear the weight

that no one means to haul around for so long,
but the mind somehow revels in punishment.

In the hallway, bending to the lowest drawer
where for more than a year hid folded papers

I looked them over once, knew it was done;
had known earlier on but would not admit it.

Where they are now is lost and gone; notes
last seen upon letting down the lid of the bin

no longer hold séance in my home, nor conjur
old mistakes back to life. Forward, now, finally.

(February 22, 2019)

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Two Swans

The days shorten, the nights arrive sooner now. I find myself dreaming about what it might be like to see him again. I would walk into the room and from a distance we would lock eyes, approach each other, I might press my face into his neck as he did the same, two swans bowing into one another in recognition, in a ceremony of forgiveness of past transgressions. His and mine.

In my dream he is a picture of health, of athleticism – the way I remember him during our early days. In my dream he has been off drugs for several years now, has struggled to find his way back but has finally made a life for himself. A life I can return to and immerse myself in.

“Where have you been?” he asks, as if I am the one who left so many years ago, but the gentleness in his tone acknowledges he had been absent long before I pushed myself from the couch that last night.

“I’m here now.”

My limbs are around his shoulders, my fingers graze the hair at the nape of his neck.

“I’ve missed you.” It is all I can say.

In this thick, tangible closeness there is no kiss, there are no undertones as in so many other dreams, but there is the simple, loving bowing into one another. As I move to rest my forehead against his shoulder I remember that the warmth on my face is not another human, but a cotton pillowcase in a floral pattern of beige and white. It is my own breath, my own skin, against my own bedding. He is dead.

He has been dead now for three weeks.

***

I dreamed once more: of being horseback, of loping across uncut fields, deep green at the start of spring, grasses pushed in rhythmic waves by the wind. The horse rocks in even stride, the rider in perfect balance, the pleasure of movement that in waking life comes only rarely. Perhaps like coasting downhill on a bicycle as a child.

When I awoke I wanted to be a child again.

(Summer 2016)

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Small Movements

I believe in libraries, in used books,
and the parts of life that we are
blessed to touch with bare hands
the way I feel alive and at peace
cutting herbs from the garden,
or hanging clothes onto the rack
one by one so they appear as an
ordered design, to the extent that
when I open my closet doors they
expose a fabric painting. This way,
each day begins and ends with art.

I believe in the experience of life
being pulled from the ordinary,
deriving joy from activities like
swirling syrup into my oatmeal
each morning as the sun circles
my white Spanish home on the hill
and enters through the window
from which I stand and delight in
newly born leaves on the trees
and birds building nests therein,
calling morning to night, I tell myself
because they are alive (do they or we
need any other reason to celebrate?)
And the squirrels running the lattice
who drive both dogs mad with glee;
I hear them too, knawing on seeds
in the Cyprus outside my bedroom.

That the small movements of the world
are as important as our ability to sense them
and that everything we touch we become
and this can be good: I believe in this, too.

(Written March 30, 2019 as an ode to the joys of a simple life and a lovely apartment.)

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Upon Finding a Sand Dollar

Seeking receipts for car service printed
during the past year, instead my hands
found in the corner of a heavily papered
glove compartment not gloves but this:

One flawlessly, quietly intact sand dollar.
This flying saucer of the ocean had been
forgotten under bent-at-the-edges receipts
mounting for nearly two years, which goes to

show how often the convertible’s corners
are cleaned – and which leaves slight
judgment of self as to why this was not
discovered earlier, but most importantly:

How did it get there? Marine missiles fire
in the memory, ruling out that it might be
from our local beaches, nor a souvenir from
Mom’s house where she, too, collects shells.

Instead the weaving mind rolls itself into
the coastline of a Del Norte County town
where once we stopped as a family of four
for chocolate hermit crab cookies, then,

decades later I returned–a lone woman–and
found the bakery gone, and went to the beach
instead and put my naked feet in the water and
walked the sand strip, my spaniel smelling

the radius of his leash. If memory is correct,
which it is sometimes, it was an older man who,
seeing my aloneness, gave the trip its purpose
with the gift of one of his roundest sand dollars.

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Grocery Shopping

Fluorescent lighting. The morning donuts are almost gone. Of those who hang behind: one maple, three chocolate, zero fritters.

No matter. In the bakery department today I am a simple passer-by. Would I have stopped had there been fritters?

The wide and waxed highways lead me instead to milk, or milks plural as there are so many, mayhaps too many.

A traditionalist, of course I choose to take you home, half-gallon carton whose expiration date reads my birthday.

It’s that time of year again. Sealed and untasted, but I adore you more than all the milks of the last eleven months.

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Where to Begin

The question of where to begin
is preceded by: what do I believe
is my purpose, acknowledging
aliveness and what that means
on scales large and small?
How much time do I have
(how much do I think I have),
what can be done with it, and
how do we ensure both a roof
above our heads and a wheel
of brie at the ready. Necessities.
Rosemary crackers makes three.
Fig jam makes four, but
I was not born for counting;
instead, purpose reveals itself
as testing the Universe with
parts picked apart as flawed
to discover time and again
it is this marred condition
the Universe responds to.
Full circle: where to begin?
There is not a where, really
just a when; only time and
who knows how much of it
other than: it is here now.

(written February 2019 and intended as the first post on this site, but I changed my mind at the last moment in favor of First Photographs, which was the first poem I read aloud to those close to me, and held this poem as a draft until now)

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