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}


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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