Norma Chapman


My therapist says I shouldn't try to use the rocks
in my head to fill the holes in yours. I see you waving
goodbye from the beach at Hatteras. You're behind the sand
receding from the lighthouse. Framing your face are ocean weeds.
You're dissolving. I see your blue trunks vanish in the spray.
The ocean floor pulls at my feet. I long for our room,

but you're in it, as though we hadn't lost what room
we had even yesterday. Damn, my body wants to rock
but you stand on the pine floor elusive as spray.
You're naked but I think it's not for me. I'm waving
goodbye. You tell me that you have pure Colombian weed
but I know your new lover's tongue turned black. You sanded

my body with your uncertainties. The white sand
in my fist could be for your eyes, but Iíve no room
for revenge. I'd want so much more. I'd want to weed
out all your lusts that were not for me, all your hard rock
memories, fill the space with Blind Boy Lemon, New Wave
rhythms, Miles Davis. I'd turn your heat to cool. I'd spray

October's ocean on your back. Your wrinkled balls would spray
empty. Your spine would curl. Only a puddle in the sand
left to show for all that time. I'd take the rest. The next wave
could mix you with salt, and I'd be free again, my bedroom
my own. I'd carry what I remember and squash it into a rock
to heave into my back yard. I'd cultivate the weeds

we discovered in Manassas to grow around it, a weed
for each year we knew each other: sweet black-eyed Susan, a spray
of Queen Anne's lace for the year you wanted me, hairy rock
cress for the year you betrayed me. I'd throw our pecan sandies
to the jays, watch them squawk with joy, glad to have enough room
for all the fledglings. An electron can be alternately particle or wave,

never both. Why not, I ask. I look in the mirror to wave
my hoary locks. Maybe I'll become Medusa with jimsonweed
among the snakes. Maybe I'll lose my body, dance in your room
invisible, watch you and your lover entwine until your spray
of love is done and you both snore, mouths agape. There's sand
for your graves. I'm better off at home with my own cold rock.

My house is not built on sand but on dense Virginia rock.
I sweep. I spray the house with disinfectant. I dig out your weeds
from the garden. I walk backwards, wave. I slam the door to my room.

Norma Chapman
Norma Chapman lives in Brunswick, a small town in Western Maryland. She started writing poetry after turning sixty, somewhat to her surprise. The journals in which her poems have been published or are forthcoming include Passager, Iris, and Maryland Poetry Review. She received a 2003 Maryland State Arts Council Grant.



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