By Sandra Kohler
Driving the road along
the oyster beds: they’re
mud flats this morning,
later a glistening blue
reflective pool, studded
with birds all day long:
these waters volatile
yet more predictable
than our inner tides,
those moods of a day:
bleakness or a flood of
life’s buoyant waters.
A few days before we leave for this trip,
my granddaughter, rebuked for bossing around
her younger brother, says she needs to find
a way to make her day start over. In my life
as an aging body, old man’s wife, mother,
grandmother of loved ones I delight in,
worry for, I feel scattered, uncentered.
I choose to imagine this trip as a way
of making my life start over.
Sunrise is sharp, autumnal:
a flush along the treeline, trees
etched on the horizon, beyond
them the jutting mountain,
its face indistinct. Nearby a car
crunches gravel, a dog barks.
The white cat sneaks through
the neighbor’s garden. Risen,
the sun is discrete, contained,
its edges sharp as if inscribed
by a firm hand. On the inlet,
Pickering Passage, a motorboat
weaves a line of white dashes
on dark water – I hear it for
minutes after I can’t see it.
Tomorrow is our last day
here. Today I am suspended
between here and home, here
and there, a there that is here
most of the time: ground, base,
core. Suddenly there’s rain:
first a spatter, then downpour.
The inlet, the trees across it,
vanish. On this blank white
canvas, the days before
me seem transformed
as if by a child’s wish:
starting afresh, anew.
Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music, appeared in May, 2011 from Word Press. Her second collection, The Ceremonies of Longing, winner of the 2002 AWP Award Series in Poetry, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in November, 2003. An earlier volume, The Country of Women, was published in 1995 by Calyx Books. Her poems have appeared over the past forty years in journals including Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Beloit Poetry Journal, APR, Slant, The Missouri Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Tar River Poetry.