EVIDENCE OF THE PREPOSTEROUS IMPOSSIBLE
Nothing moves in the breeze so exquisitely as that
which I imagine untangling in my fingers.
Look at the willow, her head of hair turned to gold
before she gives herself over to another season.
How often have I stared through the kitchen’s glass,
raked the cracked pane just to simulate my hand’s
desired nose dive into the full undertow of her?
Years ago, a poet sat stupefied mid-career in front of my poems
finally breaking down after a long five minutes to explain
I just don’t believe anyone thinks like this.
I did what I could in that moment not to break the obvious to her
that someone obviously did. Later, she made a beeline for me
at the Bread Loaf cocktail party, too late, to apologize —
I’d already waterboarded myself into a person who couldn’t imagine
a person who couldn’t imagine the preposterous impossible.
Like above, where this poem began its unravel, lavished
with drink, my head sleepwalks on the job, permits my hands
to seize a late-night opportunity to run in circles with heavy sheers
giving the wlllow, her long, chartruese bangs,
a jagged, unsavory trim. From the cement front steps,
the woman I sometimes crave laughs the night off
smoking. She says she wants to go to bed, to sleep, to rest
next to one she doesn’t know thinks like this.
I give my bed over to her, willingly,
as often as she likes. Between the seafoam sheets,
her back deliberately faces me. It’s all I can do to ignore
that guest of cedar hair my fingers want to grasp
like fraying ropes that I just can’t believe
won’t save me from my own precarious drowning,
the preposterous impossible proving once again
its staying power, showing up unannounced
when the least I can do is expect it.
From the corner of her mouth falls a whisper
around the corner of the door, past the glass pane,
through the canals of my ears, an invitation blistering
through my brain like torrential rain.
In my refrigerator’s crisper sits the cucumber,
patient, forest green. It can’t know the ache
of the peeler against its skin under
the faucet’s cold rush. It mistakes
the retrieving hand as some comfort, a pillow
of warm air reminiscent of the garden where the sage,
parsley, rosemary and thyme grew. The hollow
part of my brain quiets the storm’s rampage,
is learning how to utilize my best advice
while the cucumber chills alone anticipating the spice.
THE IMPERFECT TENSE
The moon stands tall tonight,
still in midnight blue, just shy
of morning, tipping her cup
to pour out just a little, little of herself.
Meanwhile, the temple bells
dangle asleep from the front
porch’s left ear, the willow
rusts in rest, the telephone wires,
now more obsolete than ever, hold out
their arms in perpendicular repose
to the night turning into Wednesday
morning. The birds I can’t identify
stay hushed, hidden in their trees,
and I didn’t think I could feel anything
closer, than standing alone at my own
open front door while everything in me waits
to stay awake with you, awake with you
through it all night – the things I know
I cannot know and want and those
that I obviously likely do. And maybe,
just maybe, this is only another
false start of something
sacred, another fault line cracked
open in a trusting hand. And so
I lift my left palm to cover the moon
the way I could learn to touch
your shining face, if you’d let me,
if I’d let myself be that far and close
to the night and you. And further up
and around, the eyes of the universe
watch for this moment, bearing witness,
because they have seen this
type of sacrilege so many times before
that they take nothing in their sights
for granted. They know these things
started slowly, so many, many lifelines
ago, just as we all learned in school
that light travels from where
we’ll never know to reach another
we think we always knew. It feels fine,
Love, the water that is the sky that is
the blue — cool, yet warm to the touch.
My hand now a glass I lift to catch
the rain flooding from the dawn. I had
asked permission to drink this way
only once, and this time is now.
Can you asleep stop yourself and try
to do the same as morning breaks
into both our cities
like a perfect egg?
Why is something halved always
the illusion of the imperfect whole?
Sandra Yannone’s poems and book reviews have appeared widely in journals including Ploughshares, Poetry Ireland Review, and Lambda Literary Review. Salmon Poetry published her debut collection Boats for Women in 2019. She currently hosts Cultivating Voices LIVE Poetry Open Mic on Facebook on Sundays. Visit her at www.sandrayannone.com.