35

35 is
of the world
and not,
a stew of overjoyed
and discontent.

Maybe when I’m older
the balance changes?

I know when I was younger,
the scale slid far below
the line of happy; Things were so
dramatic then.

35 forms a crossroad,
a slow settling into your own bones.

Possibilities shine in the distance,
dirt glows under our feet

 

written 6.6.15

Fiercely, we hold on

We are never more rooted
in this big universe than
when our eyes sting and
our heads hang heavy for loss.

When we, a procession of sun
glasses, watch, shifting feet,
as life disappears back into
those thick familiar arms.

Our backs, clothed in black,
savor warmth, unaware that
we are at once joyful and empty,
and crying for ourselves

mirrored in the lowering. How
we know deeply: absence
of something weighs more than
substance, and we fiercely hold on.

Molting Skin

please leave me alone tonight

it’s time for me to tackle
the high mountain of my soul –
reach into the deep caverns of my heart,
pull out my deepest fear,
place it slithering on an empty chair across a table
set for tea for two:

i will wrap my hands around
heated porcelain, examine blue corneas,
take a long steamy sip, molting skin
talking and talking and talking

the truth spills out in a hush:
this snake suns in the shine
of my smile every day, this snake
sings merrily as it swims down
my arteries, quivering, alive,

i try to write it all down before i forget
but the words keep spilling,
keep cooling, disappearing,

the tea is over, and
i sleep more soundly than ever.

Fallen Petals by Alice B. Johnson (1958)

I hope you enjoy the following poem by my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson (taken from her book, Where Children Live, 1958)

Fallen Petals

I cannot see the brown earth turned
Upon white petals gently blown
Upon the ground where I should spade
My garden plot. Have I not learned
I must not waste one precious day
Of spring? Somehow it will not stay
And wait for seeds that should be sown –
Why MUST I let my heart be swayed
By fallen petals of yesterday –
Why can’t they gently blow away?

Deliberately (To a Man Who Does Not Exist)

To a man who does not exist,

let me save you some trouble:
we will end.
Maybe then you won’t cry when I leave you
for a some day with delicious edges.

We will begin like all others, with a wink.
As light stretches long shadows, we
will gaze beyond a mirror,
nodding to our naked reflections in acquiescence,
and appreciation for the way time reflects in us
like tree rings.

Then some day
I will come to you deliberately
closing the distance between us
with purpose until none is left.
Our bodies will lock together like the
perfect puzzle pieces they are.
My hand will trace history down your spine
while you read aloud from my breasts.

The story ends always the same.

First Morel by Amy Fleury #AmericanLifeinPoetry

I love the immediacy of this poem. The raw feel of it~ Enjoy!

American Life in Poetry: Column 474
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Let’s celebrate the first warm days of spring with a poem for mushroom hunters, this one by Amy Fleury, who lives in Louisiana.

First Morel
Up from wood rot,
wrinkling up from duff
and homely damps,
spore-born and cauled
like a meager seer,
it pushes aside earth
to make a small place
from decay. Bashful,
it brings honeycombed
news from below
of the coming plenty
and everything rising.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Copyright © 2013 by Amy Fleury from her most recent book of poems, Sympathetic Magic, Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Amy Fleury and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

Everything ends.

Everything ends.
You will end. As will I.
This winter, these frozen cobwebs of memory like so many
rivulets of ice will
melt into spring lakes
My smooth hands will gnarl like roots of old trees,
and you won’t recognize them anymore.

One day, seeing a stranger,
you’ll run from me when i ask you to dance,
and your frantic footbeats will fade away,
leaving an empathetic silence.