Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Always a chance

I'm not usually a fan of narrative poetry, although there are exceptions.
And here's another one...


In your old pickup we drive the length of the island looking for
blackberries and trails that lead to the lighthouse, tell stories
about our six cats, the ones we divided when I left. I took your
favorites, the ones that were mine before we met. Your fifth
marriage is faltering. I am falling in love for the third time
we separated. All you want to do is fish in your father's
build a small cabin on five acres of land. Beyond right now,
I don't know what I want. Somewhere on Orcas another
dreams of you, waits for you to enter her life.

We smoke from your well-seasoned pipe, nervous as new
lovers. Those last months I refused to get high with you; we
always fought afterward. I remember why I loved you and why,
after ten years, I left. The reasons blend together, rise with the
smoke and dissipate. You ask me to tell you why, once again.
Each time the story is different, a work in progress. Days pass
in one afternoon. Is there still a chance, you ask.

We smile at one another, our defenses down. No one knows
us better. At the trailhead you pick purple flowers, hand
them to me, suddenly shy. I trip over exposed roots as we walk,
instinctively take your outstretched hand then let it go. In the
lagoon a pair of herons dance for one another, lowering their
long necks in courtship. Hidden behind boulders, we watch in
silence until the birds lift and disappear beyond the lighthouse.
There is always a chance, I say.

by Amber Coverdale Sumrall, from Litany of Wings. © Many Names Press.

via The Writer's Almanac

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