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Guest Poet Caroline Seagle


one week with cloves.
my hands were cold.
icy rain ripped through the air and
invaded autumn- smelled like
brown-sugar dead leaf exhaust.
You took my hand, we found shelter
under a brich tree.

He looks at her,
eyes glazed over, entranced
blue oceans running deep and
austere in the fervent crests
of her own greens--
takes his hands softly to her face,
traces her jawline,
sinks into her mouth
the plump wetness of the rain
engulfing two souls lost
in the storm.

No. This is not how it happened;

it was, instead, the stillness of
Your azure pools, the frigid presence of cold
and ossification of our joints, the fragility of
time and motion.
You and I, love, we waited under
a gaping canopy of branches,
held each other,
wrote poems on flakes of birch bark.
Your hands were as calloused as the tree-
they scratched my cheek and
this is what was beautiful.

I wish
I could swallow time with you again but
I have uprooted autumn- birches and all, and
there is nothing left less of the facades,
the glossy embellishments of nature
which we humans choose to disappoint in.

January, 2001

Caroline Seagle's Questions:

1.) Does the structure of the poem convey the contrast of the events in the second and third stanza? That is, does the reader sense the differences of time; the second stanza being hurried and the third being less rushed-- as if in slow motion?

2.) How successful is the imagery? Can the reader feel the coldness of the rain and the contrasting warmth of flesh (lips, hands..etc..)?

3.) The last stanza is it effective, or does it make the poem too confusing due to the immediate change of tone and focus? I meant to suggest that humans often are never satisfied with reality, that we have illusory expectations of what "beautiful" moments should be. Do you feel this way sometimes?


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