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Wedding Cake

Once on a plane

a woman asked me to hold her baby

and disappeared.

I figured it was safe,

our being on a plane and all.

How far could she go?

 

She returned one hour later,

having changed her clothes

and washed her hair.

I didn’t recognize her.

 

By this time the baby

and I had examined

each other’s necks.

We had cried a little.

I had a silver bracelet

and a watch.

Gold studs glittered

in the baby’s ears.

She wore a tiny white dress

leafed with layers

like a wedding cake.

 

I did not want

to give her back.

 

The baby’s curls coiled tightly

against her scalp,

another alphabet.

I read new new new.

My mother gets tired.

I’ll chew your hand.

 

The baby left my skirt crumpled,

my lap aching.

Now I’m her secret guardian,

the little nub of dream

that rises slightly

but won’t come clear.

 

As she grows,

as she feels ill at ease,

I’ll bob my knee.

 

What will she forget?

Whom will she marry?

He’d better check with me.

I’ll say once she flew

dressed like a cake

between two doilies of cloud.

She could slip the card into a pocket,

pull it out.

Already she knew the small finger

was funnier than the whole arm.

 

 

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Clearing.

Orphaned and standing in the rain

But it’s not as bad as it sounds,

I can hear Bonnie Raitt’s voice from a car

in the parking lot.

A kid just smiled at me

from his seat in a shopping cart.

No reason.

Just smiled.

The forecast is for better days.

I smiled back.

Last One Home.

My attraction to abandoned places continues to prompt my writing, in various ways. Here is a piece I wrote last month, by the water at dusk, after all of my guests had packed up and returned to the city. Such a difference when everyone has left.

The resident family of loons, emboldened by the sudden silence, magically reappear, and glide ever and ever closer to the dock, happy to have the lake returned to them once again.

Last One Home.

The dock bobs in the brilliant sunshine,

not a soul on it.

See the watercraft there, lined up along the shore

like silent soldiers,

oars at the ready for willing hands.

Lifejackets in bins lie folded and stacked.

Rubber buoys squeak and jostle

with nothing to do.

 

The hammock lies still,

awaiting a sleepy visitor.

The firepit seeks a crowd of rowdy singers.

The chipmunks scurry freely

And no dogs give chase.

No voices calling back and forth.

Sunscreen, please. More towels.

My I-Pod!

 

The birds sing

but half-heartedly,

with no audience to perform for.

Ceremoniously,

the sunset unfolds its glory

all on its own.

Writer and Poet

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Tricia McCallum profile

Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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