Featured Poem – August, 2019

Vistas & Byways is the journal of San Francisco State OLLI program. This poem was published in the Spring, 2019 issue. It is a nightmarish dream of mine ending in a powerful image from my childhood in rural Massachusetts.

Fall Into the Next

Rushing through airplane terminals, fumbling
tickets, pages, bags, very late,
can’t find the pay phone.
Can’t find the number for my father, or remember it,
digits squirm out mind’s grasping fingers.
Ex-co-workers, past-boyfriends rush by.
Late for the gate, where is the right number?

Take off, toward a strange city,
plane’s transparent sides open to the horizon.
Tips decisively, quietly, precipitously,
spilling me out into the cool dampness
of soft clouds, exhilarated,
tumbling the sky toward
a tree-circled pond.

Big breath, dive off the dock into
leaf-tannin-rich water.
Swim toward the center.
Opening blurry underwater eyes,
locate a darker shadow,
submerged pine tree trunk known to be there
out past my swimming comfort zone.

Reaching down with toes for its slimy, solid surface,
water at chin, head tipped, arms fail to keep balance,
settle like a clumsy heron, wings flapping.
The dock is small, far away, I breath fast.
Wavering shafts of amber light show no bottom,
my unseen toes in colder water,
balanced.

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