by J.P. Dancing Bear
How many times had he taken her to the moon?
What he remembers are her red boots
contrasted against white dust—
each footprint an invitation to follow her home.
He remembers the first time her auburn hair
caught the wind of liftoff—
an new flag to pledge his allegiance.
They both could not wait
to romp the white craters;
to ride out to the Sea of Tranquility
and make out in the lunar rover.
Now in these cutback years,
this Age of Scrapped Missions,
his breath pushes through her hair—
a quiet ripple of their stars and stripes;
forever a reminder of their places
in the galaxy.
(Poem Starting with a Line by Sandra Kohler)
the heart in the throat at the first moment of blooming
after another day another X counted
on the calendar from the first day of planting.
Last year’s pedals are the pages
of old almanacs, stained and dulled with light—
they sink into the soiled shade of the new crop.
Love as you might, dear god of stamen
and pistol, they sundial their faces to some other
brighter god. They marvel your face into the shape
of satisfaction. A temporary accomplishment
among the mulch and weeds. Pinnacle
of petaled promises kept in your cedar Persephone
box next to a creased photograph, a button belonging
to a coat gone missing for fourteen years and a band
of gold that whispers its vow into the silent space
where once a face orbited your own.
Somewhere in a book of studies you read the results
of talking to green and you speak so encouragingly
to your children who grow mute and tall.
An idle thought that they are reaching up to touch you
even as they face away to the sun—
an imagined comfort in the carefully preened rows
you have tended to for most of your life.
J. P. Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts. His latest book, Family of Marsupial Centaurs and other birthday poems, is about to be released by Iris Publishing.