is still milk-damp
on my cheek;
seems a smooth stone
in my palm;
in my arm,
could not wait to grow.
And now his meat
is cleaved in the sand;
his beard still soft,
a tuft in the wind.
AT THE BOARDWALK
how I was prisoner
it came back
to the fun house
how I was caught cornered
in the funhouse
THE ART SHOW
Everyone gets a turn.
A third-grader rounds up six photos
of starving third-world children,
refugees from what's left of a war-torn magazine.
Beneath the surface of a collage, he gives away a piece of himself.
First this way, then that-
he chooses to glue one glossy image sideways
so that his subject
(young brothers a mere heap of rags near death)
is transformed to a risen armful
rescued from a sorrowed background
of ancestral drought and guns,
the dirt floor now a wall,
wide eyes a living pool.
At Open House, browsing parents dodge the blade,
glancing past, pretending they don't see
the student's sleight of hand,
the way he resurrects with a quarter turn of the mind.
BEING WITH MY FAMILY
(Back from holidays, mile 33 westbound on Mass Pike)
Being with my family
is like swimming underwater,
and I can only hold my breath
for so long.
I THOUGHT OF THE SEA I THOUGHT OF YOU
You swept in as the sea
A multi colored green sea
A sea sparkled with specks of starlight,
Your light lighting everything8
Every one. Light upon light
Nothing now could ever be the same.
You spoke of time, God as Time
I thought, yes, the sea,
It's timelessness, its ever presence,
The before and after of it,
Moment by moment changing,
Always the same,
Eternally the sea.
I thought of the treasures it brings,
A gold lockettucked away in a blue shell,
A porcelain dpll, a bottle so old
Its genie still inside. All gifts for a child
A man a woman or a dog.
I thought of the sea in its pitiless rage.
The sailors and fishermen gazing
Mounting waves, wives on shore
Gazing at debris vomited up,
A skeletal wing, a sealed box of tears,
A lost cloud. Can we fly it home?
I thought of the sea, its soft wetness.
I thought of mothers, I thought of my mother, your mother,
I thought of beyond all mothers
I thought of the sea, I thought of you and
I thought of me, mothers, daughters, beloveds.
I thought of you
Lifting mg, tossing me, hurling me back to shore
Bearing treasures merged with debris,
Sweeping me back into the deep
Again and again and yet again
I think of you, my beloved.
Marlene Lortev Terwilliger