Page Richards

 

Strangers

 

it’s not that love’s coming

it comes when it comes

I am close to someone, close as a lover

 

we stand in line at this bookstore

he touches her arm with his thumb,

I am within inches of them or less

 

strange, he does not brush me

does not intertwine in the least

our hearts, too, immeasurably near

 

not strange, the distance

normal, no more than I want to wait

longer in line, I liked seeing her

 

skin clean itself with dust, her hair

fall irrelevant near his stroke,

the clerk checked out suddenly

 

yet by the time their turn comes,

and mine, I loved them the way

a piece of skin stretches to close a wound

finishing off the wayward vessels perfectly

 

 

 

Early On

 

The sun came up, kicked, laughed at us

while I got dressed in jeans,

a short-sleeved white shirt (not rolled), two shoes,

a blue and white choker, a house of fire,

not much for the sun watching us go, after all.

Still enough to cover ourselves for the morning roll

in the hay, a quick spin on Lincoln Drive,

the rest of the day open and clean, no work planned

but a bit of discussion on tomorrow’s events

our blue sheets rolled up in the back, a picnic

for the sun on the loose if we ever stopped walking.

We walked right past history, its rude smell

that wipes the mind clean with details

we recount in small words, a shrug of

each other, the miraculous misunderstanding.

 

 

 

Growing Up Big

 

Yes, I’ve been bad. Last night in the halls

while the red Santa stood at the door

and Punch and Judy lay on the floor

of the broken-down theater, yes,

I heard the voices telling me to stop

this kind of thing with you, who took

me with you. I’ve heard this before

the voices crawling up the stairs

as I debated in the bathtub the seriousness

of my decisions.

 

                           That day you asked:

we knew little, thick January, what it

would bring, your mother’s yellow ring

falling onto my hand, Thursday, three

days from Sunday, a hundred miles from

New York, years from where we’d stood,

cold, my hand on your wing, tucked inside

your plaid shirt, one for flying over my

cold body when we took our shoes off and ran

 

away from the folds the winds the muck:

it’s this I want everyone to hear, of being that girl,

though I don’t mind at all curling up small sometimes.