Laura Jan Shore. In praise of foibles


In Praise of Foibles



He wore his imperfections lightly,
announced them to strangers in the park.
He was his own blooper reel, a bank
of dispensations when the rest of us
screwed up.


He slept in his clothes for days and then 
jumped into the pool to wash them.


When someone cut him off in traffic
he wouldn’t snarl or curse, but think
of something he’d done worse
and forgive them both.


When he bid on a construction job, 
his price was low with a proviso,
his gusto could (and probably would)
suddenly flag. No guarantees when the work
would be done, but his company was fun.


He could trash a hotel room
in seconds flat, socks strewn
over lampshades, sheets pulled loose,
pillows tossed.  His own lair
was a fug of detritus and when he first 
moved in, lugging boxes of unpaid taxes
and bills, I prayed for strength.


He was the H in humble though he had
hubris, too, when the switch flipped
and his slick self rose from the ashes of defeat.
Revitalised, he became a whirl of industry.


And when I asked for a divorce,
he said he understood, he’d divorce
himself if he could.


Five years, we travelled separate
shores untangling what was his,
what was hers,
until we were clear,
our divorce had been a failure.
Although love meant more paperwork,
we volunteered for another round.


Our Covenant



Tangled as we sometimes were
in the ropes of discord, padlocked, 
shackled and chained,


if one of us was sane
enough to call it,
we’d both drop everything.


Stop 
and breathe together.


Dive into the warm sea 
of the heart, sink below
the noose of thought.


With a Houdini’s grace,
a dimensional shift.


Unloosed, we’d float
in the whispered wisdom
of the unseen.


As with a phantom limb, my body
still throbs for yours.
My mind stumbles


over your old boots, no longer
in the hall. Seated now, 
beside your empty chair,


I hear your call.
I’ll meet you there.



Prelude to an Afternoon Nap



Your freckled Irish skin, with its multiple 
flavours; bitter apricots, 


your lopsided grin
ever amazed at the bounty of my breasts, 


the frisson of awe:


our limbs roll into and over each other
as if caught in a mountain stream 
gathering force, your beard


a tickle I barely notice, 
a tangle of hands and breath.


In the lush forest of your gaze
like when we met, I catch


a rare glimpse of something wild 
that startles and flies off.


Your eyes, I’ve studied these thirty years and will 
never comprehend.


The thrill of your strangeness, I’m immersed 
in the thrust of our differences. 
My pelvic squeeze, 


voltage amplified with age. 


Who could have imagined
ripening together like this?

About the contributor

Born in the UK, raised in the US and now living in Australia, Laura Jan Shore’s poetry collections include Breathworks, Dangerously Poetic Press, 2002 and Water over Stone, IP Picks Best Poetry 2011, Interactive Press. She’s also the author of YA novel, The Sacred Moon Tree, Bradbury Press,1986 , nominated for the Washington Irving Children’s Book Award. Her work has been published in anthologies and literary journals on four continents including Magma,Fish Anthology 2015, and The Best Australian Poems 2013. She graduated with an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Portland, Oregon in 2019.

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