Here’s the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.
Once there was a way to get back homeward…
~ Lennon-McCartney, Golden Slumbers
You stand on the street
in front of a house no longer yours.
Through the window, you see the table
where you sat at supper while your father
silently pushed the food onto his fork
with a piece of buttered bread
the wallpaper of delicate roses
a dissonant backdrop.
In the living room, they’ve put the TV
in the wrong place. There’s a couch
where his chair sat and a bookcase stands
where your mother’s rocker belongs.
You remember the room
at the end of the hall where you slept
dreaming of bigger towns
and bigger houses.
Where you imagined driving north on a road
that would take you away.
You pace back and forth on the sidewalk unsure,
still avoiding the cracks
and there are lots of them.
More than you remember.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
On this January day
the water at Admiralty Inlet is gun metal gray
its surface like badly poured concrete.
A chill digs deep into my bones
as the tide moves at the moon’s bidding.
Children wade barefoot
their sticks digging shallow trenches
their voices shouting words that are stolen
and carried away by the wind.
I shift, the log beneath me a mild discomfort
and squint West toward the open sea
trying to remember how the sand felt
between young toes just beginning their long journey
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Alexandria, Louisiana 1967
My throat was dry that day,
unaccustomed as I was
to the sweltering Louisiana air.
Barely twenty and away from home
for the first time,
I killed time
while over at Fort Polk
my young husband,
who had never held a gun,
trained for war.
At Woolworths, I slid onto a red vinyl stool
thin skirt sticking to my thighs,
while the woman to my left
put her menu down,
ready to order.
I was still deciding
when the too-thin waitress
in a pink and white striped uniform
stopped in front of me,
pencil poised over her order pad.
Oh, she was here first I said
nodding to my left.
But the waitress stood her ground,
gum in cheek,
foot tapping impatiently.
I looked over then
and saw deep brown eyes
that missed nothing.
You go first, they said.
These are the rules.
I ordered a Coca Cola.
Things are better now.
Or, are they?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Susan Frederick is retired from her work in corporate communications and now writes poetry, short stories and essays. Her poems have won local and national awards, and her short stories and essays have been published in Gather Here: A History for Young People, Northwest Prime Time magazine and now in My Edmonds News! Susan is currently on the EPIC Group Writers board of directors and is also a member of PNWA. She lives in Kirkland with her husband.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The EPIC Poetry Group has been in existence for four years. It is open to the members of the public (free of charge) who are interested expressing and improving their poetry writing skills. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Edmonds Library from 6-7:45 p.m.