Bio Note: There are poems to be seen in emerging images poured in concrete, also in grass growing. I was founding editor of RATTLE, a poetry journal, and now editor Emerita. I received my Ph.D. from Honolulu University and work privately with students who are dedicated to learning how to write. My newest release is, Queen of Jacks, New & Selected Poems now available on Amazon.
By the time I’d planted a flag indicating an open house for Sunday lookers and gone inside to turn on lights, open drapes, last-minute inspection, it was 2:00 PM, just on time to welcome the public. I looked out the kitchen window to see a boy, maybe four, standing in a driveway a few doors down. His small face was serious, brows knitted together as he slowly advanced toward my flag. I thought the little skunk was going to steal it, but when he got abreast of the thing, his right hand rose to rest over his heart, and with the solemnness of a soldier, he pledged his allegiance to my new real estate open house flag.
Reason To File for Divorce in Three Parts
The Husband He pounds on the front door. It’s 1:18 AM. I cautiously pad down the long hall and peek through the peephole and see his mane of wild hair, the tan leather jacket I bought him two Christmases ago. He demands to be let in. I try to reason with him, tell him to go back to his own apartment, remind him the children are asleep. He says if I don’t open the door, he will burn the house down, tonight, now. The Wife I describe to the attorney how I quickly loaded my girls in the car still in their night clothes, how I got the cat in a carrier, and the dog leashed. I describe locking the car doors, starting the engine, putting the car in reverse before pushing the garage opener. How, as I backed out, my husband stood behind the car, spread his arms across the trunk to keep us from leaving. The Attorney Norman’s gaze is level. His expression is that of a man who had heard it all. He listens as I describe how the five of us slept that night in my car, the girls, me, the cat, the dog, huddled together ready to flee. Norman hands me a tissue. I dutifully blow my nose. Several octaves above his norm, Norman speaks in a feminine voice, very similar to my own: “Bump, bump,” bump, bump,” he says. “I must have run over something.” His expression is quizzical as he cocks his head to one side, listening. He continues, “I’ll just pull forward to see. Bump bump, bump bump.”
Time Falls Through the Inky Dusk
Walk far enough down the rough path you’ll see a tree, bent from so many years, listing to one side in need of a crutch, top heavy, swaying in moonlight. Down low on the trunk, stars, 18 of them create a ring with room for a few more. They are etched into the first layer of wood so as not to damage the bark, barely there, yet each star represents a year of our love, 365 days of marriage. I dreamed of filling the entire tree, but of course, realized too, well into our 60’s when married, time might fall through the inky dusk of nightfall. Moon sneaks through louvers into our bedroom. I feel the outline of trees, dream of the rough path, while the tree adorned with stars, waits.
©2023 Stellasue Lee
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