PAD: Day 9 – Mistake

Zamboni

The Zamboni smooths the ice until
there is no sign of
bright-coated kids who played
tag across the rink
running on their toes
ice chunks flying behind them.
Just a clean surface for
blades to write a story on.

If I had a Zamboni
I would smooth out
all of the gouges I leave
with thoughtless words
or none at all
(which may be worse);
and edit the story
I’ve already written.

PAD: Day 5 – Festive poem (Round 2!)

This is outside of my normal style…and I’m still playing with it a little.

Waiting

I knew where mom hid the presents:
in the back of the closet in what used to be my room
behind all of the old clothes that don’t fit
anyone anymore (but we hope they will again).

Way in the back, beneath empty shoe boxes
next to the broken seventies-yellow vacuum.
I climbed deeper than I thought that closet went
until I wondered if I was halfway to Narnia.

After the year I let on that I knew all the gifts
she got smart enough to wrap them before
she stuffed them in a black bag way back in that closet.
So I was surrounded by snowmen and sleigh bells and Santas.

I explored each package, best I could, turning
and shaking and probing until – car doors slam.
I piled them back – presents, vacuum, boxes, clothes
and ran to pretend I was waiting for Christmas.

PAD: Day 5 – Festive poem

The Last Thanksgiving

Remember our last Thanksgiving?
The one when we went
to the couple’s house.
That couple who told me
“God can save your marriage”
and then left him to do so
without ever asking again.

It was a motley crew.
Outcasts and exiles from
all over town with one thing
in common: nowhere else to go.
So we sat together
eating turkey and potatoes
in self-conscious silence.

When the silence stretched
too long – too long
even for our awkward host
he would pull out his phone
and read a historical fact about
Pilgrims and Indians and the
first Thanksgiving.

I was so glad when,
after pie and coffee,
the first person excused herself
leaving us free to follow.
We looked at each other and
agreed on the first thing in months:
Let’s never do that again.

PAD: Day 4 – Once Upon a…

The Middle

We remember the beginning and the end
the once upon and the ever after.
But who wants to talk about all that time in between?

All those days when Cinderella left sooty fingerprints
across her slipper
and seven men’s tears splashed on a crystal coffin.
When Aurora slept and slept and slept
and everyone slept with her.

And who wants to talk about all those weeks
that Joseph sat in jail, forgotten,
or those months when Sarah wasn’t pregnant?
When a people waited four hundred years
telling each other “maybe he’ll come tomorrow”.
(And let’s not talk about the Israelites
and their long walk.)

Who wants to slog through all that middle
where so much of life is?
I’ll take the ever after.
Now.
Please.

PAD: Day 3 – United/Divided

We were a house divided, you and me,
before I even knew it.
 

I thought that one flesh meant
always saying
yes
and yes
and yes.
But all that really happened
is that we took care of you.
 

Night after night I found myself
wondering if you would
come back to the bed
or if you’d flirt all night
with your Technicolor whores
and leave me to sleep
alone.
 

I gave you everything I had
until I was all dry
both laughter and tears spent.
Flattened.
A burst balloon
wrung out
and useless.
 

And then you asked for more.
 

I used to think the song
was right –
one is the loneliest number.
But now I know .
Two (who should be one)
can be much
lonelier than
Alone.

PAD: Day 2 – Surrender

The Last Leaf

The last leaf – the red one – dances on its stem
mimicking the little girl in the pink coat
with her hands over her head.

She spins around
then faster
and faster still
her mittens flying (almost) free
at the end of their strings.
 

(Her grandma –white hair, not silver –
put those strings on
just for times like this.)
 

The pink-coated twirl
ends with a crunch
and a crash
into all the leaves
that have fallen before.
 

And the last leaf lets go
and surrenders to winter.

Picture by Kristen Kopp (c) 2015
Picture by Kristen Kopp (c) 2015

PAD Day 1: The Day After

That day –
The day after –
we woke up together
for the first time.
I reached up to feel
sprayed-stiff hair
crackling under my fingers.

My face felt tight
under all that makeup
I hadn’t taken off
when, caught between
delirium and ecstasy,
we tumbled into bed
laughing and reaching
for what had been forbidden
hours before.

That morning –
the day after –
I reached for you
and my hand grasped
nothing but a cool sheet.
I heard you before
I rolled over to see you
sitting in that rose-red chair
where my dress had landed
the night before.

White tulle and lace
crumpled under you
filling up all the space
around your legs
You held your head
in your hands
and I heard you sob again.

Before you said the words:
I think we made a mistake.

Note: This is not my story. It actually happened to a friend of mine. And I have always been horrified by it.