Three Poems by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer


In every conversation
there is a table made of listening.
Sometimes the tables are beautiful,
solid, clean—the kind
that can support anything
you put on them.
Sometimes, they’re like
the tv dinner trays
of my childhood—
a little rickety, but they’ll do
if what’s put on them is light.
Sometimes they’re so cluttered
that whatever’s placed on their surface
is almost immediately lost.
Let tonight’s table have a small vase of flowers
and a candle perhaps, nothing else.
May it be small enough we might
see each other’s eyes, might notice
every nuance of breath. Whomever
I am most nervous to invite,
may I invite them. And though
the tea is just a metaphor,
may I offer. May they accept.


Tonight Is a Torn Map

Tonight is a torn map
and the woman
is a would-be voyager.
Once, she believed
there was a path.
Now, she believes
there are many.
Sitting still
beside the river,
she notices
the urge to rise,
notices when
the urge has passed.
Notices it rise again.
Being still
is one of the hardest
paths of all.
All around her
the world is moving—
gurgling, waving,
weaving, crawling,
climbing, winging, falling,
eroding. And in her,
more movement
than she dares to admit—
not just mudslides,
tectonic shifts—
every day the landscapes
change. Every day
the inner map she drew
looks less like what’s
really there.
It was no mistake
when it ripped.


In Times of Great Darkness

I want to do for you
what the sun does for me—
coax you to come
outside, to breathe in
the golden air.
I want to warm you
and enter you,
fill you with brilliance,
make your muscles melt,
make your mind shush.
I want to prepare for you
luminous paths
that span across deep space,
thaw any part of you
that feels frozen,
find any cracks
and slip shine into them.
I want to intensify
your shadow
so you might better know
your own shape.
I want to encourage you
to open, wider, wider,
want to teach you
to write your name
in light.


Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer co-hosts Emerging Form, a podcast on creative process. She also co-hosts Telluride’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club and is co-founder of Secret Agents of Change. She teaches poetry for mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats, scientists, hospice and more. Her poetry has appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion, in and in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Her most recent collection, Hush, won the Halcyon Prize. She is often found in the kitchen baking with her teenage children. One word mantra: Adjust.

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