Marc Swan has poems forthcoming in Stonecoast Review, The Nashwaak Review, Channel Magazine, Floyd County Moonshine, among others. His latest collection, today can take your breath away, was published by Sheila-na-gig Editions in 2018. He lives in coastal Maine with his wife Dd, an artist, clothing designer and maker. https://sheilanagigblog.com/sheila-na-gig-editions/
We never met, waved a few times
as I drove by and she maintained
her speed along the road,
a long distance runner, famous in fact,
lived a few houses
from where we rented for a year.
A memorable time for many reasons—
water view, solitude all winter,
summer with a cool
peninsula breeze, not bad
beyond lawn mowers, whackers
of weeds, and the other thing—
eight weeks, five days a week,
twenty-five miles to Portland for treatment.
Each trip a work day, not heavy labor,
just a tedious drive, unpredictable weather,
traffic, and those waiting room stories—
sharing history, mostly optimistic,
some back for a second time.
So many stories, so many lives impacted
in ways never imagined. Week four
as I pass her on the road, I think routine—
twenty-six miles, winter, summer, rain,
snow, running shoes, baseball cap,
long white hair billows in the wind.
with thanks to Väsen
I didn’t see them in person
but watched the video when she came home
all pumped up from a two-hour show
at a local venue
with three Swedish players on stringed instruments.
“Inspired,” she told me, and I thought the music,
which was part of it, and the unusual instrument—
one guy played a nyckelharpa,
my wife recently bought a harmonium.
It was those things and another.
The next day on the deck for my monthly haircut,
usually a quick run around the ears,
beard and mustache trim,
she looked more intent as she began moving
around my scalp in a different way
using clips to flip up the sides,
cutting close around the temples
then blending it all together
like the earlier years when I had long hair.
It turned out well. I asked about the change.
“The twelve-string guitar player,” she said—
in his early sixties with a bit of hair flair
beneath his black baseball cap.