If Love Can Be Put on a Shelf
hatred can line the pantry, spin
around on the lazy Susan like cans
of kidney beans, organ pebbles held
in aluminum captivity, dusty, waiting.
Jealousy can rage in the fridge,
barking at the plastic jug of milk,
that bloated breast of sustenance,
unnecessary, conspiratorial species'
potion that slides down throats
of our young, who believe they cannot
live without it. Honesty can
be folded with the laundry, washed
clean, erased like a stain on fabric
that hides flaws, covers scars, cracked
open scabs on knees, flaking eczymatic
skin. Trust can be swept under the rug,
crumbs, bits of bread and other garbage
no one believes in anymore.
It Should Have Been You
with your head under the front wheels
of my jeep instead of an innocent groundhog
who stopped under my vehicle out of fear.
It should have been you behind me as I ran,
mile after mile, going nowhere, getting there
slowly, arthritis wrapping its hand around my joints.
It should have been you sitting in the meeting
where our son's education was kneaded like bread dough,
twisted to fit some model everyone calls What's Best.
It should have been you the last hour of the day, worrying,
and the hour after that, awake in bed, worrying waking up
the next morning and worrying some more.
It should have been you who tucked our boys into bed
and told them why you left, how greener grass
had rooted on the opposite side of the fence.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.
I was very much moved by these poems, especially the second one. I can only say, as someone who has lived through a similar experience, that things can improve if the children turn out all right. Mine did, and I breathe easier now. But you never forget. You might forgive in time. I returned to the practice of Catholicism after a 40 year hiatus and that has helped. I'm in no way holy but I have always believed. Faith has to be a gift from God. I wouldn't qualify otherwise.ReplyDelete