Sunday, June 29, 2008

For the MET > Summer 2008

the memory
of my old friend Elisabeth
and her dandelions ...
I was a penniless orphan
she was a liberal blond

if I had
even only one sister
you and I
know that would have been
enough for a pillow fight

sewing a button
onto an old shirt
all this time
the persistent need
to make ends meet

my husband
of fifty-six years ...
the women
still turn their heads
and ignore me

I sit and look
at a picture of me
as a twelve-year-old
something nudges me
to draw fangs on it

by tomorrow
someone will have asked me
how my day went --
my chemotherapy session
and the divorce papers

spring evening ...
what if I fall asleep like
my grandmother
with my glasses on
the gas pipes still open

crescent moon
high behind the basilica
the iron cross
bright with two spotlights
which turn off at midnight

right here
my gifts are wrapped
and ready
your seeing-eye dog sniffs
and barks at hidden candy

My contributions to the Summer 2008 edition of Modern English Tanka, the issues of which I regularly browse through. If I am not mistaken, these were written within a space of six hours, at a fairly leisurely pace. It was one of those evenings when I felt overwhelmed by verses and needed to nail them down on the flatscreen of my laptop before they sailed on to other shores. That also happened to be one of the very last evenings of peace before the weeks of overtime that followed. Not that I regret working (fabulous job, good pay). It's the lack of time to write that can be a damper.


Bill said...

This is a very powerful group, Ella. I'm sure you'd look cute with fangs.

By the way, "husband of fity-six years" would usually mean "husband I've been married to for fifty-six years," but I don't think that's what you had in mind.

Ella Wagemakers said...

You are right, he's 56 years old, and all the women like to think he's single. God! They must be kidding! A good-looking rake and you expect him to be single?!?

As for the fangs, you didn't know me when I was 12 ... :D

Glad you liked them! Thanks!

:>) Ella