Three Poems

Poetry
Natasha S. Garnett


Photo Credit:  Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr (CC-by)

Photo Credit: Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr (CC-by)

Memory: La Paz 1983

What do I remember
Of that ride
It was long, it was short
The sky was gray, the day was fine
Only that it was terrible
A lurching uphill climb
Of the cemetery
Maybe there was a gate
We gave a man some pesos
For the care that he would take

I forgot then how to laugh
Scents of eucalyptus and mandarinas
Filled me up until the tears spilled down
The air was thin and dry as bone
The shoulders of the brittle mountains
Wore impervious cloaks of snow

How were we to know
You’d leave us right away
Not stay to know our love
Have no life at all
But two breathless hard-fought days
Except in memory:
Twelve thousand feet, white jagged peaks, that distant place
Where I still see behind glass, small and serene
Your face.

 

After the Hurricane

Though the governor silenced the roads
He could not quiet the wind
Or our unease

Water jugs, candles, cans, and the news, the news
Inevitable disaster for some
For others, fitful sleep to the whipping
And slashing of the trees
Gusts loud as desperate engines
And in between
The murmurings of harm

Two days ago we raked the yard
Hauling the fall’s fallen to the woods
On the straining tarp
And exposing bright and tender green— a late year second spring
What could I do but lie down, open-armed
And fill my face with hope and sun?

The aftermath— twigs, sticks, branches lie
Like litter blown and swept
Against the fence of shrubs between our still-standing houses
Leaves of oak hickory ash birch
And sycamore big as platters scattered wet and yellow
Our work cut out for us, the lucky ones

A maple limb knocked the cherub from her perch
Rain has left behind the smell of new dug earth
The highway roar resumes.

 

I Mistook this Morning’s Mournful Singing

I mistook this morning’s mournful singing
For the dove, puff-breasted, grave, and ashy grey
Who perches daily in the maple sounding sad
Then interrupts her own song to scour the ground for seed
But when I look, it is my own youngest love
Having risen early and gone out barefoot to the dewy grass
To find the bright yellow body, just bigger than her palm
Lying soft and still with a tiny ant already crawling on its wing
Her song a plaintive hymn to the god
Of small wild things
Oooh ooh ooh, the only sound I hear
As she gently mounds dirt into a tiny grave

pencilNatasha S. Garnett is a Connecticut writer of poetry, fiction, and picture books. A more detailed bio might include the words San Francisco, English major, Jeffrey, rugby, Bolivia, children, soup kitchen, Dodger, and chocolate. Her poems have appeared in River Walk Journal and Oak Bend Review. Email: nsgarnett[at]comcast.net