Four Poems published in Backbone Mountain Review 2015

After He Leaves 

Right about now, eight months later,

I imagine my ex- at his kitchen table,

listening to the radio in his underwear and socks.

 

A song comes on and he’d like to dance,

to take a turn across the living room, down the hall,

only there’s one to put his arms around,

 

no true love with whom he might lift a glass

or digest the news. No one who could cause

his heart to quicken in that massive chest.

 

Right about now, I imagine him doodling

or filling in the spaces of a crossword puzzle,

filling in the gaps with a woman here and there

 

who will delight him for about as long as it takes

to change the sheets, which he will launder

and hang to dry, flapping from a stretched line.

 

Here at home I roll out the dough for lemon tarts,

season roasted potatoes and rosemary chicken,

grind coffee from Arabica beans in the Cuisinart

 

he bought last November. The gears and blades

growl in sharp precision, the grind spilling

into a plastic cup I wash while listening

 

to the radio without static, a clear signal

to dance to on a starlit night and I will

nestle in fresh sheets, mid-bed, alone.

 

Delray Again 

Ants file up the Banyan tree as the pool boy

hands me a soft, white towel. Down on the ocean

 

striped flags flutter from yachts. Women in gold

jewelry, black bathing suits, glint like waves,

 

white-capped, brilliant. Under the cabana, I work

my puzzles, write a few lines, remember when

 

you were here, too, snoring under the umbrella,

your canvas shoes loafing poolside. A waitress

 

in pink flip-flops asks if I’d like anything

to drink. Her ponytail bobs like hope,

 

up and down, up and down. I order

seltzer with lime, apply more sunscreen,

 

lie a while longer on the canvas lounge,

almost reach for the phone to call you.

 

Piazza

Moonlight creeps through linden leaves,

casts long shadows on sidewalk slab.

 

The last train’s passengers hurry by

(newspapers tucked under their arms),

 

chatting of wine and weekend plans.

Once their goodbyes dissipate,

 

a silence settles in, sweet and lonely.

Under a café table, a cat cleans herself,

 

stretching and licking, certain in the dark,

in its intimate protections.

 

I sit on a wrought iron bench to mull over

the day’s events, nursing a drink

 

and the closed buds of tulips,

the bits of paper littering the grass.

 

Soon enough I’ll climb the steps

to my rented room, turn the iron key

 

in the great brass lock. For now, I coax

a pigeon to coo, to sing to me, tonight.

 

Remorse

I turned my face toward the sun.

Meanwhile, fattened bees hummed

and darted, ferrying treasure.

 

Secrets abounded, the wind lay soft

and someone’s mower grated grass.

I knew not where the day’s long glance

 

would take us, could not lodge

its urgent plea. The dog slept

under the chaise as my shin bones

 

bronzed. As I dozed, I thought

I saw you, again a child, running

through the garden, a dangling hose

 

wrapped around your forearm,

but it was only a scarlet milk snake

at the edge of the trees, hissing.

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