Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Clay: A Memory & a Dream

January 26, 2018

 

When I arrive is always years from now
at the edge of my father’s marsh
and the hole is half filled with water
and choked with grass
where at five
I watched him dig lilies for our yard 

I step barefoot into fetid water
worm the ooze around my feet
scoop black decay with my toes
working through sediment
to yellow clay 

Returning night after night
kneading my feet in that clay

 

First published in Tellus.

 

51 Plymouth in Marsh - photo by Mike Smetzer

Dad cut the top and the back off his 51 Plymouth and took the seats out so we could haul Christmas trees up to the yard for sale. Worked well until Dad took a shortcut and got stuck at the deep end of the marsh. That night it rained. Still there.

Advertisements

After You Left: Lost Love in Winter

January 17, 2018

 

Two days of freezing rain. 

The car glazed fast to the clay.
The snow hardened, gray as the sky. 

But today a fat cabbie
flies a kite in the park.

It dips in the Kansas wind
like his chins.

 

First published in Wind.

 

Sky above Land's End, Maine - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Before Sunset

July 26, 2017

 

I walk down to your spot by the stream,
toss chunks of mud into the current.

Twigs and insects, leaves and soil
swirl away down the shallow creek.

The oaks creak slowly above
as sunlight fades from the grasses.

On the opposite bank small eyes rise
like buried hopes from the shadows.

 

First published in Cottonwood (formerly Cottonwood Review).

 

"Stream through an Autumn Woods," photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

“Stream through an Autumn Woods,” photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

 

Report to the Air

July 21, 2017

for Thea

 

There was your yard and your old house
and your two dogs.
And I was sitting on the rusty tub
we moved in from the farm.
There was your father with no fingers,
your mother opening beer.
And we all sat outside in Kansas
without you.

Today a neighbor brought a pie.
Someone you knew came to adopt your cat.

 

First published in Hanging Loose.

 

Sky above Land's End, Maine - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Circling Back

June 30, 2017

 

A long road under thunder.

Deer alert among cattle.
A fox sidling through clear-cut.

Then white clouds shadowing corn.
The grassy in-road through fields.

Cracked melons in the garden weeds.
Toadstools rotting by the barn.

*

Circling back, and back.

A hike through mud under snow.
Then the steep path of loose stones

up through a patch of wintering rye
to the window watched only in memory.

New dogs growl from the gate.
Loud, strange voices shriek from the barn.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Michael B. Smetzer
An earlier version was first published in 2014 by Off the Coast.

Woods Road in Missouri - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Woods Road in Missouri – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

The Widow Battinelli

June 19, 2017

 

Father Lucarelli consoles me, my speech
falters. Black veiled ladies bring by a meal,

offer to pray with me for his soul, to beseech
God. I tear their prayer card as I kneel

next to Cosmo’s photograph on a pool of lace.
At night, I open the urn by the bed,

scoop cold ashes to smooth across my face.
Our cat circles and cries for the dead,

the familiar lap in the empty chair.
Cosmo’s silver watch beats distressed,

the weight of sixty years I bear.
Coarse links chafe against my breast.

Pregare Dio!” the black veils drone.
My faith gone dry as ash and bone.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Alvera Lisa Smetzer

Angel of Strength - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Strength – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer