Sandy Coomer/Rockvale Review
Sandy Coomer is a poet and artist living in Brentwood, TN. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. She is the author of 3 poetry chapbooks, most recently Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press). Sandy is a poetry mentor in the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program and the founding editor of the online poetry journal Rockvale Review.
Letter to Beth from Vermont
It’s snowing again.
I asked a man in the laundromat
if it ever stops snowing in Vermont.
He said not this week, and we watch
our flannel shirts and wool socks spin.
Snow makes me lonely, all the white
space of it, the blank page I want
to crush with my fur-lined boots.
I’m not made for cold, like you say
you are, now that night bends across
your face like a black wing. You used
to sing. Your words used to spark
the wild tangle in both of us until
your tongue was clipped and you
trembled in the dark. I told you
to live for love and love betrayed you,
swallowed the sweet curve of your hand
like an owl gulps mice. I told you
to live for joy and joy let you chase it
for a while, then folded its arms
and fell asleep. What can I tell you then
about this snow that you’ll believe
except that when I step outside and sink
to my knees, it’s a kind of prayer
that holds me up. When I blink
the whiteness back to color, I see
what’s clean and possible, a field un-
broken, the curved crest of frosted hills.
Don’t worry if this note arrives damp
or the ink smeared. I added a handful
of snow to the envelope so you can see
what I see – all the beautiful crystals
laid out flat in your palm.
After Amy Gerstler
Press one if you’d like to go back to Kindergarten and tell Mrs. Kirksey that you know how
to draw a triangle, and you could pick out orange from the box of crayons, you just didn’t want to.
Press two if you want to back flip to 7th grade and tell Kristen Merriweather that you’d rather be
dragged by wild horses through a gully filled with rattlesnakes than go to her party.
Press three if you want to take your virginity back from the boy you gave it to, wrap it in silver
and purple striped paper, and leave it as a surprise gift for the person you really love.
Press four if winter makes you lonely and you’d like to hear a recording of “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys.
Press five for chocolate and wine to be auto-delivered to your house every week.
Press six for your grandparents to un-die, for your parents to un-divorce and for your dog to get
un-hit by a car so that you can all enjoy another 4th of July picnic together with hotdogs, corn-on-
the-cob and watermelon.
Press seven for instructions on how to lift blood stains from carpet, candle wax from bed sheets
or chewing gum from hair.
Press eight for directions on how to dissolve your insecurities in vinegar and baking soda.
Press nine to hear this list again.
Press zero for Operator, but don’t expect anyone to answer.
Postcard to Victoria from Monteagle Mountain
I breathe the bouquet of fireplace embers and distant storm.
Above me, footsteps tap across the 100-year-old pine floors
and someone talks on the phone – a happy lilting laugh,
then conversation steady as the stone bridge over the creek.
I came here to write but the words have yet to find me, twisting
as they do along the ridgetop and billowing like fog across
the hills. The pond carries a thin layer of ice and below it,
a carpet of lilies, the roots clutching to silt like fingers in sand.
Words sink and leaves settle – both blow bubbles to the oaks.
I recall how you told me to neither seek nor entice, but let
the morning open like prayer, let the words want so much to be
written that they climb through my hands like a wizard’s spell.
For that, I have to be patient. For that, I have to sit cross-legged
on the floor like a child, rock the bones of my hips to a song
only the earth sings. You say be grounded, but what you mean
is to grind. I stir the spice of cumin and pepper, the veil of onion.
I collect eggshells for the compost pile, carrot skin and orange rind.
Deer gorge on chestnuts beside the dormant garden. I do yoga
on the porch, my toes slipping in new rain. I am waiting, Victoria,
as hard as I can.
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