The Innisfree Poetry Journal
www.innisfreepoetry.org

by Anne Becker


ENOUGH

    It was the perfect summer day.  The air touched her cool skin with warm and cool fingers, just as it fingered the leaves⎯of the cork-screw willow that let speckled light into the room⎯of the farther auburn maple branches which bobbed like arms with out-stretched feathery hands caressing the skin of the air.  Everything rounded like that, turned and gave back what it took.  Beyond the tops of the trees, the silver-blue billowed clouds, immense, delicate⎯not boats⎯edifices⎯towed the pale sky washed with sun in their wake.  This reciprocity, she thought, this is summer.  This perfect balance between heat and cool, between movement and stasis, every thing moving stopped as if at perfect noon.  Why should the day continue to advance toward night?  When it could stand here, absorb the slow, thick amber light and grow minutely bigger?  As the heart learns to, to absorb all of lifeís batterings and continue to beat, beat, beat; clench and relax, clench and relax as the lungs empty and fill, empty and fill.  As she wished to sit in the cool dappled room, where the carpet, the rug beneath the chair, beneath the footstool padded with matted fleece, bloomed⎯red, black, green, rose, ivory, gray, olive, pink, maroon, lime, moss⎯between the dabs of gold and dusky light.  As she wished to sit unmoving, except the slight rocking that started in her heels pressed down into the sheepskin and continued up through calf, thigh, hip, back, neck, so that the head nodded imperceptibly yes, yes, yes.  Agreeing to this⎯all this⎯this light, this air, this ceaseless moving unmoving⎯stopped time⎯this abeyance of hunger.  


FALL, 2001

What we love in common⎯the autumn light.
Its particulate waves caught in the warp of air,
suspended in the hush between breath and breath,
a soft gauzy fabric to wrap our fears.
All around us the leaves die back, wither,
curl, set their blunt orange hooks in the clear blue air;
tapestry our eyes gulp in, lifeís wild thirst.
Plum dots of beauty-berry, cross stitched,
stipple a lime-green ground, dissolve in distance;
weave and flicker of wing and feather
nut-brown, cream, carmine, black, olive, heather.
In the shrill music of cicadas, of
the crickets, day ticks its final minutes,
dusk shrugs off its shawl of lavender light.


THE YEAR I PERFECTED . . .

Eleven⎯the year I perfected my
writing, chose a number three pencil,
having the hardest lead, honed to the
sharpest point, barely a dot; sure
curled fingers guided the shaft, little
movements of the lips and tongue,
dilation of nostrils with each
breath as my hand slid over and
over the paperís smooth cheek, ruled
with faintest blue veins, leaving tracks

of ghost words,       ghost letters,       phantom
silence        gray              gray   white       a
blizzard of silence                        Ten years ago
the dazzling invisible glowed
in my motherís huge closet where she saved
her childrenís work.  Today, I only
imagine those perfect

empty pages⎯blank⎯like
my body was blank.


THE GREAT DESTROYER

I'm inside hiding from green life⎯
scared to be out in it, new leaves
sprouting all over my body⎯from the shoulder
blades like wings, like a bower at the kneecap.
Everywhere out the window the green glows
fueled by the sun.  It frightens me this
burning⎯that I might consume myself,
like trees, a short flowering, then withering,
drying.  Gold tissue banners all winter
on the beeches, their trunks smooth, silver,
as if dead.  Of course, they are
not, they survive winter clad in their
old clothes, shivering, whispering
amongst themselves, gossiping⎯I'd hazard⎯
about the arrival of reinforcements of light,
the day lengthens like shadows,
the earth breathing its gases, warmed
air, how soon it will come this year,
tears of the drenchblue clouds, of the violet
sky; will it be enough sorrow to rekindle
the branches to the smallest twig⎯
enough joining of tender skin and free
air, to burn, to go on burning all
summer to be dropped and gathered
in the fall⎯       corpses of living joy.


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