Three Poems

December 14, 2018

Orbits

 

We pedal our three-wheelers

in concentric circles

on home lawns

and parents applaud.

 

We grow strong calves,

balance and speed,

and the sweet-talk

of wind in our ears

silences parents’ warnings.

 

We glory on racing bikes,

invent beacons,

plot trajectories to bliss.

We push away from boring bike lanes

to new grounds, thinking

we climb the untamed.

 

We grow up, claim our acre of land,

grow roots, acquire four-wheel vehicles.

The children get a dog, and we,

memberships, tenures and mortgages.

We spin on stationary bikes

until we slow old, mosey on

into retirement on a tandem bike

that we will trade for second-hand tricycles.

 

Once again, we ride in circles.

Grandchildren slalom on the paved alleys

of our old folk residence.

They cheer us on until the sun sets

and it is time to go home.

 

 

Once Verdant

 

In twin mirrors

framed by artificial light

in our bathroom

you and I glimpse

the unfamiliar faces

we’ve acquired,

only your gaze on me

familiar.

 

Outside, winter scours our trees

down to charcoal skeletons.

The tarnished sky filters the sun

down to a feeble yellow orb.

We’ve slowed our pace

withering like mounds of leaves

battered down by rain and sleet.

 

Our twilight plunges toward night.

We shiver into sweaters

huddle nearer the hearth

burning our summer memories

along birch logs that spit stars.

 

Our eyes peer through glasses

that fail to erase the sepia tone

our yellowing corneas foist

on our scenery. And shadows

spill the secrets of bone.

 

In mirrors, with finger tips

we verify what our eyes fear,

the nakedness of your skull, mine,

barely concealed by discoloured skin.

We wish for kinder lights,

seeing less, a last minute blessing.

 

 

 

Seaworthy

 

One buoyant morning

I unfurled my wrinkled wings

to the kiss of the wind

and left my husband.

 

Before that, atop the washing machine

in the mudroom, I left a note

words to close doors

not leave them ajar.

 

Earlier that day, my husband

slammed the front door, rushed

to work. I stayed home, sick.

He said I was not.

I was, enough to pack my full half

into a moving van.

 

The night before, I read

about tea clippers coursing waves.

They triggered a curious hunger

that gnawed my sleep away, biting

awake memories I had disarmed

into dormancy.

 

Before I went to bed

in the mirror, on my face

I noticed a looser net of wrinkles.

 

My sore calves screamed from tip-toeing

around his anger that trip-wired

the house I stopped thinking of as home.

 

Weeks earlier, I had scoured shops for outdated

ocean-hued pressed eye-powders

sand colored foundation

to drown the yellow purple shame

around my eyes.

                                                                

For months, my fashion statement

had been all-season long sleeves

and no swimsuits. I was painfully

shy, he said at pool parties.

 

Before that

there had been something

I can’t quite remember

so evanescent it was.

 

 

Marie-Andree Auclair’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and online publications the United States, Canada and in the United Kingdom. Her chapbook, Contrails was released by In/Words Magazine and Press/Ottawa. She lives in Canada.

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