for A.H., in gratitude
That was your foot under the table.
What were you thinking?
One pale horse in all these miles.
The motel was like one from my childhood,
kids in bathing suits dangling towels from second floor balconies,
the ice machine spilling ice,
even the chair beside the window where
my mother smoked cigarettes late into the night.
Emily (314): Who besides the Buddhists abandon hope?
In the doctor’s office I do tricks like a dog for a bone.
Hope’s not worth it. And sore must be the storm -
You married a man who can make a rabbit
hop out of a watering can and wave a carrot,
you lucky girl.
I missed the kiss——watching a sailboat cross the harbor.
I ran away once to that cathedral of light and stone,
to pan for gold in dinged-up pie pans
in the creek behind his cabin.
The next day he put me on a bus for home.
Let the poets sing praises to this dry earth
and the dead lead the living into each other’s arms.
I’m content watching purple basins pass by.
I met Jesus on the trail to the bristle cone pines.
He looked at my feet and I imagined a healing,
then he parted the snow with his walking stick.
Sleep comes late.
In the dark corners of the room
the ghosts of my wanderings.
The sounds of teenagers whispering in the parking lot.
The balsam root I planted seven years ago
is blooming in the wildflower garden.
This is the only way I can talk about how long
I’ve been on this road,
brilliant yellow——long awaited.
©Susan Austin, 2013. All rights reserved.