Poems on a Sleepy Afternoon

I meant, innocently enough, to bring some boxes into the house and do a bit of sorting. I brought in THREE boxes and soon had piles everywhere. And finally I found the poems I wrote — the ONLY poems I’ve written.

On a quiet afternoon at Heart Butte School, we were working on poetry. We were really in the right mood for it. I’d say, “Let’s write a poem about horses!” And we’d do it. “Let’s write a poem about grandmas!” And we’d do it.

Then the kids said to me, “You’re always telling US what to do. Let us give you subjects and YOU write ‘em.” Okay.

Write one about love!

Love is a silver fish
Leaping in my heart.
It lives in another world
Liquid and cool and sometimes blue.
If love is dragged out into the light,
It dies gasping.

No, no! One about TEENAGED love!

I was only a trembling leaf until you
came like a wind
and sent me sailing.
Now I lie over your heart, green and tender
and ready to grow.
Your heart is thumping under me, as red as
I am green.
Our tender time togther will grow to a great
branching tree of love and shelter.

Now write a SEXY one!

I was hanging out the wash.
He handed me the pins.
I shook out his worn workshirt
and he put his arms around me.
The wind slapped the wet shirt against us
and we both laughed.
It took both of us to spread the sheets out in the sun.

Now one about love ending.

This morning the world died.
The sun plunged into a coal mine.
Now I hardly remember how it was —
only that I loved you
and you loved me.
But what could it have meant?
The world is dead.

Now write one about how it feels to be me, to be us.

Unseen, I mingle with you —
tip-toeing through your lives.
What are you about?
What do you have that I could take for mine?
I hear your secrets and see your skins —
You don’t seem so different from me.

But I’m invisible.


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