He was a logical astronomer,
she, an astrologer who was
a certified space cadet.
For years, he’d studied the heavens,
only to make contact with this celestial body
who would take him there
at the speed of sound.
He studied the planets,
to learn more about his own.
She studied her ancestors,
to learn more about herself.
When he learned that Earth
was his adopted home,
it changed nothing,
but when she learned that
was her adoptive family,
it changed everything.
He lived amongst the stars,
who weren’t so bright without their scripts,
whereas she lived under
another kind of star—
the ones that would outlive every last one,
& needed no words to amaze them all.
John and Mary
Her lunchtime walks in Newbury Park
did not go unnoticed by the collegiate-clad young man
who watched her from his studio apartment,
sipping a chai latte on his balcony,
typing his thesis on his cell.
Every day, he saw the woman of his dreams
meeting the man of any woman’s dreams,
sharing a sandwich (never submarine)
but the diagonal kind made of shelf-stable bread and always served cold–
the stuff brown-bagged lunches were made of.
The man’s coffee was always hot,
no matter the season,
their wedding bands shining–
butter yellow in the spring,
starburst yellow in the summer,
pallid yellow in the fall.
Were they birds or bears,
going further south
or hibernating for the winter?
one frosty night that turned his cheeks cherub,
he saw the man and woman
reading side by side on a bench
in the public library–
He would learn that they had nowhere else to go,
for they could be there and not have to buy anything.
Then came the day that he no longer saw them
where kids used outside voices and books were free for a limited time,
where squirrels frolicked,
making arcs on the sidewalk,
where tables were set up with jigsaw puzzles
for the dodgy old men whose wives were dead or troublesome,
where the magenta buds of the crepe myrtles
hovered like feathers in the heat shimmer,
and where educated young mothers corralled their toddlers during storytime.
When he returned to college that last semester,
he saw the man and woman not as students
but as teachers–
teaching about the ideas and ideals
that had gotten them through
those long months of joblessness
that sometimes begat hopelessness
in a society that undervalued those
who wanted to do nothing more than teach.
She spent part of her holiday
scrapbooking her memories,
there would be more of them;
the other she spent
memorializing another’s memories,
there wouldn’t be
any more of them,
yet both books
were a celebration of life
& the people who lived it.
The friends she’d had during the best of times
were her friends for a season,
& were wonderful in their time,
but the friends who were there for her
during the worst of times
were her friends for all seasons—
sunbeams that warmed the grieving rain.
She put smiley-faced notes in her children’s lunch bags,
left lovey-dovey Post-Its for her husband on the kitchen counter,
& texted silly jokes to her mother when she couldn’t reach her.
She left a paper trail that stretched for miles,
so that when she was suddenly gone,
her family was left to pick up the scraps
that couldn’t even begin to tell the story
of how much they’d meant to her.
She Said, He Did
It was the morning after she’d said no,
and she rose with the sun alone.
She’d had a good time, and sometimes,
that’s all it was–
one night of a hundred others,
sifting through those who either wanted to make a dishonest woman out of her
or crown her as the heroine of their love story.
But the sun seemed just a little bit brighter
when her phone rang,
and he asked her out again,
already knowing what her answer would be then,
and what it would be once again at the end of the night.
Rock and Amber Had a Girl
When Amber jumped into marriage,
it was a leap of faith–
like pole-vaulting onto sand.
A little child,
not yet born,
had led them to the rock garden
where diamonds were forever.
When Amber had their daughter,
whom they named Ruby,
she looked into her baby’s eyes
as the nurse told her that doing so
was like looking into the future.
She’d laughed and said,
“Who can see what they cannot know?”
Yet forty years was the year
of the Ruby anniversary;
however, when that time came,
it was not the future she saw
for the living Ruby
was the same age
as her father had been
when the nurse had,
made her prophecy.
Children of the Blue and the Gray
He was a blue-blooded Yankee,
she, a red-blooded American.
He spoke like an Ivy Leaguer,
specifically Yale Law
& Harvard Business;
she spoke in the colloquialisms
& soft consonants of Deep South Jaw-juh.
They just couldn’t find common ground–
he, with his clipped Northern accent
& she, with her Southern drawl–
but when they got all mixed-up,
their hearts turned to purple prose
& they found uncommonly fertile ground.
One Less, One More, One Better
He was going to a fair,
she was having an affair.
He took all the rides alone,
she took one man on many rides.
When Lonely & Alone met
at the funnel cake stand,
both ordering the last red velvet,
he offered her half,
& she knew this could be her better half
who would give to her
his whole self.