It was gray and slightly raining. We cloaked ourselves in parkas and started heading towards the trail map. I was fumbling with my jacket and fell behind, I recall passing another family debating to hike or not. Their voices were calm, but concerned and the debate was about their young daughter and if she could handle walking over all the wet rock and slippery earth. She looked my age, my height and she too had heavy glasses. I recall listening and wanting to interrupt and tell them that they could come with us, but I didn't. I just stared. The little girl stood between her parents saying nothing. The parents decided against the hike. The girl didn't argue, she followed suit and watched as her mother helped her take her jacket off and climb back into the car.
I caught up with my family and really, I cannot tell you more details of the waterfall other than the cold wet rock layered in moss was dotted with spring flowers. While I stood with wet tennis shoes and damp socks all I thought about was that little girl, somewhere in her warm car looking out the window. I thought that if I knew her, I would send her a picture, a letter or some detail about the waterfall. I didn't want her to feel like she was missing out.
This past week, my book was rejected yet again and this time I was given comments in regards to my poems. I am beginning to think I would rather have a sterile letter simply stating the rejection in polite business English. No, not this letter for this editor found it an opportunity to be more personal and to tell me that my poetry is arbitrary. I responded in polite business English myself, but found her word choice a bit harsh.
And what does this story of the girl at the waterfall parking lot and being rejected have in common? Frankly, I write poems for that girl. I think and hope I will always write poems for her. In my mind, she's my audience or the person who maybe didn't go along with me and I want to do my best to show, explain, share and hopefully give her an opportunity to experience too.
I'd like to think that this desire doesn't come from my ego as much as it is from a belief that if you want to write than you need to have a story worth sharing, a poem with a point. Something to give to this world as an offering and not as some absolute. So here it goes, a new poem for a new year. Enjoy.
Sirens at 31o
Clara hangs blank CD’s from cherry trees,
to blind hawking magpies, while her daughters
wait for wind to turn the silver in sun
to catch seconds of rainbows without rain.
The three trees weight heavy in late summer
like Clara’s girls grown, still living under her
eye and locked screened door. A window opens
at dusk lifting hints of radio to fill the orchard
with pitched notes in the off key of dance halls,
tight jeans and slow smiles from boys under hats.
The girls sing louder than a meadow starred
with flowers. Louder than drown out owls.
As if their song were a car filled with gas
each chord a knitted feather to lift the past.