One Light, One Dark

Tillamook County Library Bookmobile 2

Two of my older poems…

The Bookmobile

It is clear one’s life has simplified

when it becomes the social high point

of the week. The Bookmobile

 

man (who’s name I don’t even know),

one’s most frequent, extra-familial

interlocutor. Every Wednesday

at five, the bus rolls into town.

My daughter gathers our tower

of books in eager arms (It’s here!

she says, looking down from our hilltop),

and we set out like traders for the outpost

of new ideas. The whole world,

 

I suspect, should be like the Bookmobile.

Nothing in excess, enough for everyone—

kindly limited and predetermined

 

by unseen hands. Two dozen cookbooks,

one rack for CDs, novels on a single

proud stand. No more bad news

 

than will fit in a 12-inch stack.

When we exit the Bookmobile,

it is sunset. The sky unfurls a pageant

 

of pink to herald evening, time

for food and rest, for scattering our

books, like rose petals, on the bed.


{Poem first appeared in Rain Magazine, 2006}


____________________________

Fortunetellers

 

We’d fashion fortune-

tellers with a notebook’s page.

Under the creased angles of fate:

movie-star husband, glamour job.

 

I was the jealous sister.

Sitting now in the ICU

beside your cancer-twisted child,

I recall the game. Cancer didn’t lurk,

 

a skulking idea, beneath our

future’s blue-lined folds.

I didn’t lift a corner to divorce or, pick

a color: B-L-U-E, a kid

 

with A-D-D. Can’t say the thought

didn’t cross my mind: you get the one

with cancer, and odds are I won’t.

You swim these locks of grief,

 

past wheelchair dash of balding boys,

alcoholic babies; I note

the fine paintings on the wall.

On the drive, autumn’s gilt,

 

melancholic splendor. My

sensuality clads a longing and dread.

What will be the bright green gift,

the tissue-petaled charm,

 

on the other side of this

long winter’s loss?

The purposes of gods

seem buttoned and blank.

{Poem first appeared in The Portland Review, Summer 2003}

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