My favorite figure
skaters are not
the ones who score
a perfect ten.
My favorites are
the ones who fall.
the ones who fall
and get back up.
without even brushing
the powdered ice
from their bruised behinds.
They just clamber
to their feet and go.
They are my heroes.
Why are there no
gold medals for them?
What is three minutes
of perfection compared to
a lifetime of resilience?
The knowing begins
to settle in layers
like the diagrams
in my fourth grade
with its drawings
of the earth
from the crust
down to the core
where the molten center
until some seismic shift
causes it to churn,
erupt and obliterate
everything in its path.
If anyone should ask
what I most regret,
it will be the stories
I didn’t tell.
The story of the dream I had
the night before Jackie died.
The way he stood
at the foot of the steps
bathed in white light.
“I’m all right now,” he said,
after the long months
of suffering and surgeries.
When his mother called
the next morning
to tell us he had died,
I never told her
that I already knew.
“Don’t worry. He’s okay.”
Never tried to explain
why I didn’t cry
when I heard the news.
And now she too is gone.
Gloria Heffernan is the author of the poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, (New York Quarterly Books), and Exploring Poetry of Presence: A Companion Guide for Readers, Writers and Workshop Facilitators (Back Porch Productions). She has written two chapbooks: Hail to the Symptom (Moonstone Press) and Some of Our Parts, (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Chautauqua, Braided Way, Stone Canoe, and Columbia Review.
IDEA OF DIGS
I’m a fan of gneiss and schist, both formed under pressure
to make layers, which happens with personalities too
but I prefer schist because you can pry the layers apart
spread them on the picnic table and see them glisten.
In college geology, rocks were my favorite topic
and I liked the idea of digs. Imagine how Herbert Winlock
felt when he dug through that wall in a mountain cave
outside Thebes to find hundreds of tiny clay figures
depicting ancient Egyptians in everyday life:
rigging ships, threshing wheat, feeding cattle,
rolling papyrus into scrolls to be used by bearded scribes.
Part of me wants to do digs in some faraway land
but part of me wants what I’m doing now:
sitting in a backyard lawn chair watching the sun
make shadows of clothespins look like miniature
tree swallows about to make a move, but not quite.
SOON THE MOON
Soon the moon will seem strange—
we won’t see it in the same light
which happens frequently to me.
I once thought a clean oven was important
or when Sam didn’t tuck his shirt in
after moving to Brooklyn.
What would Akhenaten think of
a man in a bucket loader floating the alley
three feet above our backyard fence.
Akhenaten was an early monotheist
wanting everyone to believe in the sun.
He saw things in a new light, you might say
as I do this morning hearing how many
people are signing up for moon travel.
The bucket loader has been
rattling the alley for over a week
remodeling houses across from us.
Sam is successful as Brooklynites go
and I have completely forgotten the oven.
I have to say Akhenaten could never
have imagined things people believe in
since he first promoted the sun.
Lynne Potts has three published books of poetry: two by National Poetry Review Press and one by Glass Lyre Press. In addition poems has appeared in Paris Review, Nimrod, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, Oxford Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, DrumVoices, New Orleans Review, The Journal, Cincinnati Review, Art Times, 2River, American Letters and Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Broken City, New Millennium Writing, Seneca Review, Karamu, SPEC and many other literary journals – more than two hundred poems in all. She won the Bowery Poetry Club’s H.D. Award in New York and was the winner of the Backwards City Review 2007 Poetry Contest. A poem from Paris Review was selected for Poetry Daily. Virginia Colony for the Creative Arts, Moulin a Nef (Fr.) and Ragdale have awarded her fellowships to their colonies. She lives in Boston and New York.