A friend reminded me of a story snippet I wrote a few years ago, which sent me on a hunt for other old things among the stacks of yellowing paper. Sometimes, I read my old writing and cringe at its clumsiness or pomposity. Sometimes I smile, remembering the moment.
This poem is one of those moments: Driving home from work one clear night, I looked up to see a crisp sliver of moon, and thought with a laugh, “It looks like a needle.” The poem composed itself, but I had to keep repeating it until I arrived home and could write it down.
I turn my face up to the sky
and watch the slivered moon
hang upon a blue-black night
like the spindle of a loom.
If sky were cloth, and I were skilled,
and stars were buttons bright,
what a wond’rous garment we would yield,
and hem it up with light.
c. EE, year unknown
The next poem is not a moment but the culmination of years, an understanding friendship. This friend and I no longer speak, except through occasional “hi, how are you” messages sent via my mother whenever she happens to see him. Sometimes I wish I had honored the poem’s last line. But if friendship is valued, so should be the truth.
Turning the envelope in my hands,
staring into space,
I see things that are not there—
a beloved face,
brown eyes, the sunlit room where he stands,
laughing, watching me.
Will courage rise? Will I dare
hope to ever be
more than confidante or casual friend?
Phone calls and letters and inside jokes,
shared smiles, birthday cards,
minds so akin we forget the time,
by what remains unspoken—
a delicate dance
of reaching out, holding back, a mime
lest life send a lance
to pierce the bright dream and make it
I seal the letter, write an address.
What is left unsaid
ensures friendship will endure,
its heart still unmet,
mute, a gift speaking more than a kiss
though less than the truth.
I will love and never tell.
c. 2006, EE