Various and Sundry Poetry

unpublished work

The hibiscus needs a poem,
the grasshopper too – he looked so unbearably vulnerable
in the middle of that island road.
Low tide deserves a poem about
the importance of retreat, and the woman
who rang up the groceries was carrying a poem
about loss, eyebrows pinching when she gave me the receipt.
The two boys at the playground, see-sawing themselves into a fight,
need a poem in which war is given a long set of parables
from childhood. Breakfast is ripe with poetry, the tangle of mango
and omelet and limbs of sausage and the exclamation point
the raspberry jam makes against the tongue.
Laurie needs a poem, the sweat on her obliques
midway through the workout video, the primitive grunt
at the home stretch, and how peaceful she looks
with that second cup of coffee.
The flight over the Pacific is brimming with metaphor,
the incongruities of small window and vast sky and the glass
barring one from the other. Eli’s laughter is begging
for a poem, the universe of hope it carries with it
and how the tuck of his palm crossing a busy street
delivers an almost excruciating joy. Rain
is ruthless with poetry, that great cleansing of history.
The canyon trail could use a verse or two,
its wildness gentrified by the cellophane wraps
of cigarette packs and tennis balls abandoned
in thickets by dogs weary of the search.
The piano needs a poem, that Mozart duet
unplayed for three decades still poised
somewhere at the edge of the edge of fingertips.
The golf course wouldn’t think to ask
but it needs a poem, too, its green hips flirting
with a ceaseless manicure, the strange marriage
it makes of fact and fiction. The highway
craves a poem, Route 2 carving an additional solitude
from northern Montana, the wearying stretch of the Panhandle,
towns on the brink of disappearance, and dust
heavy on the windshield. A poem lies in this living room,
vacation magazines and sunscreen sharing real estate
with a notebook and a pen that may run out at any moment.
And so the poet, too, needs a poem, to remind herself
of the unpublished work, life waking to its first pulse,
body rising toward inklings of light,
the heart stirring itself open, already knowing
it will break.