Avocado

“Every object and being in the universe is a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty, a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth more shining, as though covered in satin… Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it. It will turn to gold. Resurrection will be now. Every moment, a new beauty.”

~ Rumi

The Hass Avocados at the grocer
are sad looking fellows.
But, in January,
during a pandemic,
lucky there’s even a selection.

The avocados are little soldiers,
leaning against each other in the quiet bin
that someone haphazardly dumped them into.
Overflowing with this versatile fruit.

Throughout the day
people have eyed, touched, tossed the wonderful loot—
searching for that one, impossibly dark green, ripe ‘cado
that’s ready to devour. Biting into its soft, succulent meat
is a tongue’s treasure.

Finding that one
that’s creamiest
for salads, wraps, dips.

It’s a goldmine. $1.79 each. Joy.
Not too high a price to taste divine.
The nutrients are much: potassium, vitamins E, B6, C,
magnesium, folate, and it’s what I love the most—
healthy fats.

My turn to search. Looking through the pile—
This one has sagging skin, that one full of dents and bruises. It’s a no.
O, there is one, a little beauty. It has a little give when I touch it,
It’s soft near the stem, the stem pops off with a slight touch.
I imagine the vibrant, green flesh beneath. The sound seed
hidden inside, protected.

I love to root the seed
and watch it grow.
I make my purchase and head home.
Ready for the creamy, nutty taste of this buttery avocado.

Gina Marselle © January 15, 2022

listen to my poem on my SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/avocado

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Until the Sun and Stars Meet in Glory

Note: please listen to the poem here: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/glory/s-RBmKOssZVEB

I.

There was a time before I loved horses.
I was so little then,
I probably had a made up name for horse.
By the time I was 7 or 8, that is all I talked about.
Soon, my soul transformed into a horse.
I had a best friend horse, a soulmate before I turned 10.
Santa brought her, and we were inseparable for 16 years. 
Her hoofbeats summoned my dreams,
we galloped into a love not of this earth.
Ancient like the desert sands.
Horses became a mantra for breath.
Then, I only dreamed for 20 some years.

Now, a daughter raised, a son who is 9,
I have this rescue horse that
isn’t a dream, he breathes fire
into my heart.
He’s desert bound with the clear, blue sky as his kingdom. 

II.

This afternoon, I felt most lost to myself.
When I get like this, when my anxiety is about to break me,
I drive to Edgewood. As soon as I pull into the stable, 
I see the horses.
When I close my car door, I can already hear my horse
nickering his greeting. Shaking his head. Trotting in his paddock.
His tail raised high telling everyone that he is an Arabian horse.

The color of midnight. 
His nicker makes his body quiver. His hello is for me—or for carrots.
Today, he gets a giant Honeycrisp apple
and leftover, bruised pears my son didn’t eat during the week.

III.

I try to remember life is lovely. Days are blessings. 
On days that I forget, 
I take a drive to Edgewood.
to find that little girl I use to be.
She was brave, courageous. She had a loud laugh. 
She rode bareback and galloped over the hillsides. 
I don’t ride my rescue horse. 
I don’t have that courage anymore.  
Instead, I dream we are running wild across the desert landscape. 
We are one as we chase the wind, leaving plumes of dust 
in our wake. The sun sits warm on our backs. 
My mother died last September. I have been a little lost. 
My husband moved out last October. 
I became a little more lost. 
COVID-19 never left. I became a little more lost. 
My horse doesn’t understand his job, 
but his therapy keeps my heart beating. 
In my dreams, we gallop until the suns and stars meet in glory. 

IV. 

This says to the world more than any poem, 
that I am before all else a lover of horses.
In my soul, my bloodstream. My very heart beat. 
Fascinating is that a human heart and a horse’s heart 
can begin to synchronize within 35 feet of each other. 
The only thing closer, I think, 
is when the mother is pregnant with her child. 
God knew before I was born, 
that my spirit belonged to the horse. 
My mother loved horses. 
My mother’s mother loved horses. 
I love horses. 
I'm a protector of them. 

V. 

I believe this love will be the last memory of mine,
as my final breath leaves my body. 
I hope that as I enter into the next light, I am granted 
a steed to ride the stars wildly and happily. 
If a shooting star you see, call me Joy as my hands
merge into one with the fire mane of my horse’s light. 
My laugh will be loud. My smile wide. 
I will send light. 
And my loved ones will know joy. 

© Gina Marselle, January 8, 2022

Note: This poem was inspired by a writing prompt shared by Liza Wolf Frances (https://saturdays-sirens.com/liza-wolff-francis/). We read a poem by Lisa Fay Coutley called: Letter to the Aftermath. We created a word bank to use in a poem we wrote. My word bank from Coutley’s poem was as follows: heart shape, fall, leaves, 73 °, sunny, plumes of white clouds, desert, mountain, chickens, dirt, son, leaves, tomatoes, horse snort, sun and stars, warm air, peaches, bruised pears, apples and dust. To learn more about the poet, visit here: https://lisafaycoutley.com/poems/.  
Self Portrait (Inside Horse’s Eye) with My Rescue Horse, Rafiq | Gina Marselle | Taken 12/30/2020

Scent Memory

by Emily Bjustrom

Diving past the general mills factory
A sweet scent wafts into the car
It reaches deep past my guts and through my spine
into the backseat of my dad’s car.

In the driver’s seat he takes an exaggerated sniff says what do you think? I think coco puffs, No! Froot Loops.

There are places in my childhood I can touch without flinching

But here is something swollen and heavy

It’s the sense of safety
Sleepy but happy in the back of the car
Head against the window

I can’t reach it without the scent of baking cereal drifting in through the open window.

It floors me again and again.

I am weeping on the highway
For the child was
And the woman I am.

Letters

Katrina Kaye

He was never articulate,
educated yet unimaginative.
He knows this.
He knows I know this.

It is not that I expect poetry
over prose. I am the writer
between the two.
It is an old anxiety
only recently resurfaced.

He does not write to me.
Instead he sends me sketches.

One of coffee in a paper cup,
planes in the background through large
thick windows.
One of the rails of a balcony with a
river rushing below.
One of me, lip bite and eyes shining
as I watched him go.

His words are simple,
“I miss you” and “thank you.”

In my letters,
I ask him about the weather,
he sketches the rain on the window.
I ask him if he is keeping busy,
he sketches a sketch of him sketching
within a sketch of him sketching.

I ask him if he’s lonely,
he sketches my face among the rumpled
blankets of morning, sun streaking
from the windows behind me.
He sketches two children playing
invisible violins and reading each other’s palms.

Her ghost does not haunt these pictures,
and I wonder where he keeps her now.

If her wrapped body still
hangs heavy in his hands,
if the slideshow in his mind
still flashes on her crumpled body.
If he still blames himself
for being moments too late.

I know he does.

I ask him if he had forgiven himself,
he sketches houses rebuilt and clear skies.
In a moment of weakness,
I ask him if I will ever see him again.
To this he replies with words,
hand scrawled and sloppy,
“I count the days, my dearest friend.”

 

Bound for Great Things

Katrina Kaye

Chicago wants your hands,
the creases of your knuckles,
the calluses on fingers.
New York is hungry for your history,
a collection of the photographs
your mind took and formed into line
and oil. Boston knows too well
the way you weave your words
onto a canvas.

I am just a girl in New Mexico
sitting by window sill,
bandaging the blisters,
filling journal with words
that belong to the last picture
left on the
your palms.

I am too soaked to continue
to sponge the pain that leaks
over your rim.

You are wasting time among desert,
choking on the dry memories of youth,
attempting to rebuild the house
you burnt to the ground ten years ago.

You have not built a home in my bed,
you are merely hiding there,
tracing eternity on my sheets
pretending to be the boy who left me
at the train station.

They call to reclaim their wayward son,
posing pretty, waiting for your hands
to reclaim their essence.

Lighthouse

Katrina Kaye

Every blink
of your eyes

is a sunrise at sixteen,
when you told me

you loved me
and we watched the

sun eat the black.
Fifteen years later

you cling to me,
and I let you.

With each kiss
I promise

safe harbor,
with each touch

I seek to steer
your path.

I am
no beacon.

I am easily lost
to the night,

unable to guide
ships led astray.

My hands cannot
retain heat,

cannot heal or
offer cure from pain.

Yet, there is
a light in me

that still hopes I can
lead you home.

 

Watercolor painting of North Carolina lighthouse Original painting and fine art proofs available at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RFoxWatercolors

Down the River

after Mary Oliver’s “Crossing the Swamp”

Here is the bend:
in the whispering trees
in the babbling water
where cattails cackle
with secrets
untold.

Here is the river:
where oar
breaks water
makes a stir
of ripples
sharing gossip with geese
busy-ness of beaver dam
carries on
and on.

Here is life:
undisturbed
and always disturbed
by growing
and going
moving against current
where river
is never
the same
letting the current
take me away
where I am
apart–

a part
of something always changing
always moving
rising
falling
ebbing
flowing
freezing
thawing

going–

around the bend again
where dead tree
finds life
dried reed
is resuscitated
wet
and glistening
and the cat-tails yowl
and tortoise sneers
and water sings
with its breathing chorus.

Here I am;
around the
river
bend.

© Maxine L. Peseke

Meadow

Katrina Kaye

childhood playground
fallen prey to constant foot falls

the shift of flood to drought
the scorch of day evaporates
morning dew on slick leaves of grass

the numb of night wilts
long stalks of mild green
into wilt and waste

it always seemed safe here

somehow perpetually permanent

but this world is volatile
it is always taking
turning what was
into what is

heaven dries in the barren heat
and heaves into wasteland
children lose their fairy wings
and become merely human

the meadow is gone
like all things must 

magic is dissected into practical parts
and disappears

Awake at 3:45am

Katrina Kaye

Here is Sleep,
stretched on my right side,
exuding warmth and calm
so close to my chilled skin.

He is distant despite the proximity
promised by the hands of clock and
length of lingering darkness.

The lights from the street and
solitary passing car slip between
slightly parted blinds into long stripes
across far white wall,
chasing shadows to restful corners;
their claws receded.
No longer do they unfold
toward me in the lonely dim.

In spite of the vow of peaceful nightfall,
I am awake with stale breath held in chest,
deconstructing a nightmare into
a coiled grey sweater left on floor.
The simplest of terrors paralyze,
leaving me vulnerable prey to the night.

It is impossible to be lucid
in the muck of these early hours,
when the tiny tragedies of  
the ever turning world imprint dreams,
causing Sleep to lack the relief
he once promised.

Indifferent to my mistrust,
Sleep breathes, soft and rhythmic,
a silentious invitation to join him,
the only sound breaking the night.

We are not

Katrina Kaye

We are not architects.

We are incapable of designing even
the most rudimentary of concepts.
We are not ranch style homes
with islands in our kitchens,
shiny steel pots hanging from hooks.

We are not adults when we are together,
We are not day jobs and early nights.
We are not rational.

We are not quarterly clocks
or forgotten promises,
we are not clean slates.

We are not Christmas traditions
or dinner table arguments.

We are not first loves.

We will never be that old couple on the beach
watching the sea.

We are not pegged legged or one armed,
and although capable of swinging,
we do not always land on our feet.
We will never be lawn mowers or garden tenders.

We will never be teddy bears or multicolored legos.
We are too old to be children.
We are not competent with building blocks.

We are not good liars,
we are not without the burden of guilt
and the expectation of consequence.

We will never be nuclear.

We will never be suits and formal wear
We are not made of plastic,
our colors run,
our sides bend.

We are not indestructible.
We are merely chemical.
The reactions of our exchanges
through touch send easy fever.

We are not poetry.
We are not romance novels.

We are instruction manuals
and wings pieced together
from the remnants of kites.

I don’t know what we are.
When I ask you,
you can only tell me who I am.
You can only say how you feel.
There is no we.

Dare I say
we are holding each other in the dark.
That we are not thinking about tomorrow,
but counting this moment for all it is.
Dare I say all we are is right now.