The Suitcase, Ode To a Lover on the Susquehanna, Night Trek

The Suitcase, Ode To a Lover on the Susquehanna, Night Trek

Poems on a life shared suddenly left, big rivers that flood us, and a walk to end desperation — framed just so.

'Memory Suitcase' by Yuval Yairi.

THE SUITCASE

 

When we reach the airport, the chauffeur opens

our doors and hands us our luggage. You smile at me,

and tip him more than you need to.

 

We honeymoon beneath the summer stars

of Miami Beach, where rolling waves caress the sand

the way you caress my skin and kiss my mouth and I

can't tell the difference between the salt of your kiss

and the salt of the ocean.

You whisper, "I will love you forever."

 

Years pass. We become two soft La-Z-Boy recliners

in front of a color T.V. gazing into the familiar smiles

that grace the pages of our wedding album,

the one hand stitched by my mother.

It is browned now and brittle along the edges.

 

One morning you announce between the cornflakes and

decaffeinated coffee that you want out.

I watch you leave, but as the evening falls I imagine

you back in your chair.

I imagine that you have only stepped out for an evening walk.

 

How has it come to this,

all our dreams

packed away into one little suitcase

and carried off so easily?

 

'Cascade Bridge, Valley of the Susquehanna', by William Louis Sonntag.

 

ODE TO A LOVER ON THE SUSQUEHANNA

 

“Ever newer waters flow on those who step into the same waters” — Heraclitus

 

Love needs no language,

Not here,

Along the Susquehanna, watching as she twists and bends

Returning to mouths,

Where sunlight and lovers meet.

Not here,

Where the silver maple and black cherry sway patiently,

Amidst the romantic odes of the meadowlark,

Or the ecstasy of the osprey,

As they dive and reemerge,

Fed by the river.

Not here,

Where the haunting tales of lush mountains

record through the ages,

Those first seedlings of love.

Here, along the river, she reveals us to one another,

As we confess our love, baptized between her gentle waves.

How has she found us?

Here along the Susquehanna, reflecting in our gaze,

the memories of our ancient love’s return.

 

CIty at Night, London.

NIGHT TREK

 

Ominous shadows

The high screams of two alley cats sparring in the the sweaty heat of August,

This is where the night is,

Where demons and werewolves, rapists and switchblade

aficionados inhabit

In wait for the next victim; victims who believe that faith can save them

As they cling to light from the next street over,

Casting glow on little but the graffiti warnings of the same two gangs

who have been warring here for years

For this same futile ground.

 

I can hear their screams as teeth or knives or fervent hands incur their blows.

Their ghosts cling to the air, unable to move beyond their fate;

Unable to let go of the surprise of that last gasp of breath

For some inescapable reason, as I walk through the alley,

Seeking an excuse to shed off this life

like a hundred-year-old snake

Who tires of transformations,

It begins to rain.

It's an unexpected rain.

It cleans the streets as moonlight glistens through its drops

Illuminating the dangers that now scatter from its cool clear wetness

as though it were holy water, raining down from the Christ himself.

 

I decide to turn around and seek shelter.

I will exist for another day.

Infected with a hope

I never asked for.

 


MELANIE SIMMS is an American poet with over 200 publications of poetry in magazines, newspapers and literary journals including: The Santa Cruz Sentinel, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Daily Item, Taj Mahal Review, Penn Review (University of Pennsylvania) and CLAM (UC Berkeley). Her latest book is Remember the Sun: Poems of Nature and Inspiration. She lives in Sunbury, Pennsylvania and will be reading at the Degenstein Community library with Jesse Waters, Director of the Bowers Writers House at Elizabethtown College. 'The Suitcase' was previously published in Poets Haven. 'Ode to a Lover on the Susquehanna' was previously published in Ancient Paths Literary Journal.

 

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