Sandy Coomer is a poet, mixed media artist, and endurance athlete. She is the author of 3 poetry chapbooks, including the forthcoming Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press). Sandy is a Poetry Mentor with the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program. She lives in Brentwood, TN. www.sandycoomer.com
The year finished the first slow circle
of missing you, and just as you predicted
the daffodils returned with a harvest of gold.
The hillside is ripe for gathering.
You waited until spring to die, until the earth
expanded to accept your body in a cradle of green.
You’ve been too long gone and the ache you said
would ease, hasn’t. The pangs you said would cease
wrecking the bright new joys of without-you days
still sharpen their teeth in the stillness of night.
What’s not to like about returning?
The snow is gone and the koi are awake
flashing orange and white in the pond.
The path to the meadow that harbored
the small herd of deer needs clearing.
Trillium and bloodroot wait for your cry of discovery.
Peonies long for your bouquet.
I know you think I’m fine, that I haven’t counted
each day as one more to endure.
Would you be surprised to find I’ve forgotten
how to laugh, that winter left me unbearably cold?
I’ve done what you asked. I donated your books,
your clothes. I haven’t missed a day walking the dog.
Come help me plant lettuces and tie the blackberries
to their stakes, and pick out new roses to plant by the fence.
The daffodils spread tender yellow against the grass.
You and I once walked together there.
Come back now. It’s only fair.
Back streets always have eyes
and yours hold the morning open.
A tightrope of space
on your tiny balcony, you grip
the bars with fingers straight
from your mouth, the lick
and taste of your world.
Will you remember me,
my American wave, and how
my pause gave you permission
to tuck your chubby face
behind your arms? You stayed
like the morning, a little longer
curdled into thought and became
an image I hold, its blushed moment
a fragment of focused faith.
Maybe you already see
this world is a balance of shadows
and what we claim as real
is only our version of truth.
Looking down, did you see the same
morning that I saw looking up,
and in that frame and capture, did I see
the same you as you will one day be?
Your dark umber eyes blink the future
awake. Wonder unfurls and washes
the soul-stung cobblestones
hobbled with grief.
What would this balcony be
without you but a sliver of rock
gripping an empty sleeve of space?
And what would I be but a man
still restless, still looking up,
eyes searching, hands empty.
an azure sky
sleeves of cotton
tied in knots
of push and pain
and an echo
the bowl of my belly
breaks and crumbles
slivers and dust
I watch the clock
as hours grind
and feel your small blue body
shudder in mine
and I am
pulled through time
like a ribbon
you are still
of your floating life
binding each bone
delivered in this
I hold your flesh
upon my chest, the hands
of the clock and my own
this one moment
in the cerulean, turquoise
and terrible sky