Along the Shore

Along the shore, I want to say
shells or small pink crabs or
sandpipers or gulls or young
or old or hand-in-hand or
a boat on its side waiting or

a kite and its tail or that
yellow cottage – all windows
with its own pond so close to
the beach one wonders how or
cliffs where Christmas trees

have been thrown and tinsel
one or two floating or trees
from here on, not much to
be said, except for additional
coast and in the distance

a black lab jumping for
a stick and a teenager, and
all along, I’ve wanted to say
you and us and ours and we,
the sun has risen now and

I want to say you didn’t
leave this world a list that
I tally hoping you hear or see
and the dog has gone and
in the bay a sailboat.

 

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Come Autumn

Come autumn. Come with
your ends of summer knotted,
your rusted trees,
your fuss of leaves.

Come, if you must
make subtle breeze
a wind of disarray.
Only let your reds

and golds remain infinite
if romance be love
and love forever.
Smooth the river rocks

with never ending,
allow the mums
to russet daily, days
to crisp and blue,

until the land is
crop-lush unending.
Come then if you are
new.

The Right Girl

I was only at the First Christian Church
in Saturday summer heat to listen to
his soft vowels making love though I
suppose they were no different than
yours or mine. The All-U-Can-Eat
Spaghetti Social raised $358 for the church.
I remember I didn’t like the spaghetti sauce
or sitting in the grass. And it wasn’t long

before he noticed I had stopped laughing,
noticed the evening had ended. But when I
look back on that day, the fading light
outlining the sway of leaves on my dress,
cool air moving in for the evening, his eyes
so sure that this was all good, I wish
I hadn’t seen him realize. I wish
I had been the right girl.

The Summer King

I told you, the coffee’s great
at Iguana’s – rich House Blend and
a shake of Madagascar cinnamon.

Broccoli-cheddar scrambled egg
on a toasted onion bagel.
Top’s down, wind in your hair.

Sun shining on your day off.

You’re sure you’re barefoot
carrying a copy of the latest King
with Jimmy Buffet in your ears.

No one’s gonna believe it back
home when you say, “There’s this
perfect little island town in Arizona.”

The Night We Ate Szechuan Orange Beef

I’ve flavored the beef with orange
peels and the special hot sauce
just as I was taught in the two-hour
adult cooking class one month ago.
I’m so nervous now I’m sure I’ve
forgotten how to make Szechuan
Orange Beef for this man with whom
I’ve fallen in love, who watches me
moving about my kitchen as he sits

at the table reading me. He says,
“We’re not having Szechuan Orange
Beef, tonight.” I stop and stare.
He says, “I’m going to scramble
some eggs for two omelets which,
by the way, I’ve never done and
which may contain egg shells,
so we’ll never forget the night
we ate Szechuan Orange Beef.”