Bio Note: I have zero hand/eye coordination so am lousy at sports or anything vaguely physical. Luckily, I had a big brain that moved lickety-split and retained much. Until COVID: I'm a long-hauler with intermittent brain fog, so don't be surprised if I forget . . . to respond to a text, to show up for a meeting, to . . . ? "Remembering" has become a critical theme, in poetry and in life.
A Found Poem Inspired by Eileen Tabios’ MDR I forgot my father is not Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania. I forgot the borders of a kingdom my six-year-old eyes could not see. I forgot a house, solid and stolid as a boulder on a ground ever-shifting from nature’s tantrums, gentle but persistent rain . . . I forgot the years I wore a dress of softened wool shaped by hand, lined by beige. I forgot the spine bent willingly into a buckled belt. I forgot the John Donne dream, the one in which he reminds me, “Every man’s death diminishes me.” I forgot paintings completed by the shadow of gawkers. I forgot muscle will grow to form a heart.
Remembering Susan Elbe
A poem that begins “another shark day” and I think everyone out of the water, now! but I don’t know if Susan is the shark or the water or the woman screaming. I barely remember the gray fin closing in. I catch myself clenching, imagining Susan safe at home in her apartment. She was not safe. She was alone, and her heart gave out. My memory of her is a shipwreck, no treasure in this deep, no hard place for echo. I sleep less now and flat on my back, as if expecting a leap. I should have invited her up. I should have sucker-punched her fierce empty. Bring me a trumpet. Bring me Lake Michigan, Chicago. Forget I can’t read music. I will split my lips and play her back to life like a sweet jazz showcase, a live wire, a fluorescent light. This fog doesn’t have to be our map of what happened. This doesn’t have to be Susan, gone. This isn’t me, disappearing next.
Praise Your Marriage
—After Andrea Potos When during a January dusk brilliant with horizon, you can sit on a Divi tree on a beach in Aruba, in a sky blue skirt and gauzy white blouse, his hand on your hand on the trunk between. This could be the credits rolling on the cheesiest Lifetime movie, where the couple is pummeled for 90 minutes: his brother dead by suicide, her best friend a brain tumor, their devotion pushed to the limits of shout or worse, exhaustion, and even a sick cat they tend until he convinces her to let it end, and she almost ends, her will a crushed lotus flower caught in the undertow and him unable to swim but jumping in anyway to save her. But here, now, as the last of the sun winks out, a silence between us, for we have only an ordinary life, nothing so heart-shattering. Just this, with you: lovely, lovely you.
©2021 Cathryn Cofell
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL