it’s the last day of the year. and a Friday–Poetry Friday. when i read “The Wild Rose” over at the Bonny Glen, i knew i wanted to add a bit myself. i always think of these two poems together. and Melissa even lives in the same town as Steve Kowit…so Andy read me the poem as the light faded. i held Nicolas and typed around his wiggly self. lovely.
and the best end to a year i can think of. so let’s have more poems in this new year. good work, indeed.
The Blue Dress
by Steve Kowit
When I grabbed big Eddie, the gopher drops from his teeth
& bolts for the closet, vanishing
into a clutter of shoes & valises & vacuum
attachments, & endless boxes of miscellaneous rubbish.
Grumbling & cursing, carton by carton,
I lug everything out:
that mountain of hopeless detritus–until,
with no place to hide, he breaks
for the other side of the room & I have him at last,
trapped in a corner, tiny & trembling.
I lower the plastic freezer bowl over his head &
slam the thing down.
“Got him!” I yell out,
slipping a folder under the edge for a lid.
But when i open the front door, it’s teeming,
a rain so fierce it drives me back into the house,
& before i can wriggle into my sneakers,
Mary, impatient, has grabbed the contraption
out of my hands & run off into the yard with it, barefoot.
She’s wearing that blue house dress.
I know just where she’s headed: that big
mossy boulder down by the oleanders
across from the shed,
& I know what she’ll do when she gets there–hunker
down, slip off the folder,
let the thing slide to the ground
while she speaks to him softly, whispers
encouraging, comforting things.
Only after the gopher takes a few tentative steps,
dazed, not comprehending how he got back
to his own world, then tries to run off,
will she know how he’s fared: if he’s wounded,
or stunned, or okay–depraved ravisher
of our gladiolus & roses, but neighbor & kin nonetheless
Big Eddie meows at my feet while I stand
by the window over the sink, watching
her run back thru the rain,
full of good news. Triumphant. Laughing. Wind
lashing the trees. It’s hard to fathom
how gorgeous she looks, running like that
through the storm: that blue
sheath of a dress aglow in the smokey haze–
that luminous blue dress pasted by rain to her hips.
i stand at the window grinning, amazed
at my own undeserved luck–
at a life that I still, when I think of it, hardly believe.