When they explored the land,
they saw how the faster travel and communication became,
the smaller the world became.
When they explored the spaces beneath them,
they saw the dark side of the earth–
an underworld untouched by the living
but populated by the dead.
When they explored the space above them,
they were in wonder of all they did not know
and all they could not see.
And it was there they hovered–
in awe of the God who would not show His face,
but had set it all in motion,
this God whose voice was unheard
but whose signature was on everything.
When they explored one anothers’ bodies,
making love on the beach at low tide
where the honeymoon rose and set on their salt-beaded skin,
their hair like the rim of margarita glasses,
they lost themselves in each other,
even as they found themselves in awe of one another
and of everything they were;
for they were the dust of earth,
even as they were the debris of the heavens,
rearranged in such a way
that made them perfect for each other.
She spent her life taking questionnaires
in junk science magazines
& quizzes in fashion forward ones,
answering questions such as:
In a public space or a private place?,
In the bedroom or on the dining room table?,
Before breakfast or after dinner?,
convincing this brunette bonbon
that she was a nymphomaniac
when she hadn’t had a “date” in 21 days.
Rated by men a 10,
Olivia Kate was irate
when Ken Dahl—
an imperfect 5—
bragged that he’d
a perfect 10.
Set of Two
When she asked him, “Coffee or tea?”,
he asked her, “Saline or silicone?”,
earning him a hot lapful of both beverages.
Picking Up Toys
Raggedy Anne is looking rather ragged.
You’ve made a hat out of stickers for her;
you’ve pulled her yarn hair apart
so it looks like she has a bad perm.
She is not yet missing an eye
(only because it’s made of thread),
but if you needled her to death
like Mama used to do to her “friends,”
she’d be real sorry.
You’ve turned Baby Aimee into a double amputee.
I thought only woodland creatures
chewed off their own foot
when it was caught in a trap.
Mickey’s hands look like they were caught
in a stump grinder;
poor Frederick the Poet Mouse
looks like he’s been on a starvation diet.
Well, he’s hanging on (or together)
by a thread,
for mastication is your instantaneous gratification.
One More Memory
If I had just one more memory–
one more moment stretched into years
(with light years between the seconds)–
I would have so much to show-and-tell you.
Does that not sound like a little child?
in the absence
of space and time
as you observe Hannah’s progression,
listen to my stories,
and see this, your daughter,
in the collegiate green cap and gown,
having remade herself into the ungraven image
she’s always wanted to be.
We share memories of you at the table;
I like to imagine you hear us
every time we speak your name.
We have no complaints.
Dad still carries your driver’s license in his wallet;
there are never enough pictures.
We say, “That’s a Mom joke!”
(when the joke is truly terrible)
or “Remember when Mom ..?”
Dad still calls you Mom;
I call you Grandma.
“Say ‘Good-night, Grandma,’”
I tell my daughter,
“blow her a kiss to heaven.”
It’s a kiss strong enough
I catch the one you send back
and plant it on her cheek.
We call you what our children call you.
You wanted Dad to call you Betty more.
Your mother always called you Betty Ann.
You liked the names Carolyn and Elise.
You dug up the roots of the family tree
to give me mine.
She is…she was…
it is just “Grandpa’s house” now,
but the contact still reads “Mom and Dad’s”
in my phone.
I will never change it.
We remember your goulash–
the only thing you knew how to make–
even though we weren’t even Hungarian.
We just are.
God was there between them,
holding both their shaky hands.
Crumbling was that faith
that marriage was forever,
but when they looked at one another,
seeing one another the way they did,
they saw from their reflections
in the windows of their souls
that God was the fulcrum,
and she, the power suit in her marriage
in his birthday suit,
was a kept man.
But for this practice of self-reflection,
of seeing themselves obstructed in the beam
they saw in one another’s eyes,
they also saw that he needed her
as much as she wanted him.
*For this poem, I used every word from this one: https://sarahleastories.com/2018/11/28/poem-a-day-november-2018-writers-digest-challenge-27-theme-sturdy-shaky/