Three years three months and counting

“There’s no one like you,”
she whispered, turning away.

The leaves are flying,
rattling soft like small bones,
raining through the sun-out, sun-in light.
Their mother-trees kept them
tied to their twigs
in cold weeks,
to mend a summer-drought.

“Where are you? How is it you’re here,
and not? Why do I love you?”
she dreamed.

Somewhere, near you,
flowers are sharing themselves
with reflected light, odorous,
bright, and sleepy-sweet.
A Spanish word is softer: olor.
There’s a type of sherry with a dark taste,
long-aged, called oloroso.
Las plantas de tu (ya su, mera love) país
son muy olorosas.
Your winters are promises
of sweating and brown skin.

“Late November’s cold is greyish-clear,
like glass.
Do you still dance? Or swim?
Just now a dog is moaning
about missing owners, praying
for their safe return, crying
that she was left behind.
The Mumbai dogs, whom I love
because they sing near you,
tell me about what touches you,”
she said.

I’m healing.
Sickness made a distance between me and life.
In the void were possibilities.
My eyes are closing.
If I don’t allow them to,
I’ll cry, my retinas will detach, my lungs will drown,
my heart will stop.

You’ve given me all I needed
to make sense out of experience.
I can watch Emma Thompson act,
know what she’s doing wrong
and the probable why,
and enjoy the experience, as I used to.
Watching films now, I look at cloth a lot, and at light.
My hands know how things would feel,
how a needle would work the material, going in,
my fingers feel each weave.
I remember how we used to be
all sharply-pressed,
and now we’re not.
I don’t mourn a thing that’s changed,
except for missing loves.
Everything else cycles in and out
and in again,
the same and new.

You are my love forever.
I lose all grace when I face you with this,
I become a stumbling girl.

All art is about love;
and love is an art.
I’m still trying to learn how to do it.

© Nov ’10 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Norway morning

On an April morning
chill as a fjord,
a Norway maple’s whippy branches
are riding winds
in a New York courtyard
of half-lit bricks
and a third-story window
mirroring clouds dimensional as night
and an almost-imaginary
purple-blue sky.
If a family of butterflies
were tied to branches,
their wings would shimmer in various greens,
hinting of fall,
like these maple leaves
shaking with cold
in a Norway morning,
as the earth moves in its blankets of clouds,
spinning out winds,
singing of you, singing to you.

© Apr ’10 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Sharp against the heavens’ dark

Would quiet
a heart that feels
your strength,
the eyes that watch
your flight,
the woman shadowing
your strides?

sharp against the heavens’ dark,
my salt,
my curve and sweetness,
love — would it?

© Jan ’10 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Three babes in the night

Child of innocence,
child of passion,
now love unclothed:
This child endures
your wintry lightning,
alive in my arms.

Cheek cupped in the palm of a hand,
your sweetness all around,
your pine honey scent thickening my sleep,
an hour’s like years.

© Dec ’09 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

October afternoon

Inside rain’s light,
eyes closed,
held warm by love,
a little lost in reality-sounds —
    the streets’ soft stuttered roar,
    a jet behind clouds,
    a bird,
    a horn,
    the whirring of a saw —
I heard a voice,
your cello’d song.

© Oct ’09 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved


Stepping from a cab
onto a rainy street
in New York City
where I live
I’m splashed
by cabs that pass at speed
forcing force sheets of
dirty water up and over
enemies on foot,
like me.

Like that,
the risks I take
in loving you are sure.

Hiking on the streets
in summertime
in New York City
where I live
when it’s too hot
to walk and just the heat
makes blisters on my feet
when sanity is living
in the country for the season
only few remain
to face the heat,
like me.

Like that,
the pain I feel
in loving you is sure.

Along the ways I walk,
the sweet green hedges
that you offer hide
barbed wire that’s
the darkness and the hunger
of your inner self,
and all the little flowers
that you leave for me
hide tiny insects
in their hearts.

When you’re very sweet to me,
you double round the corner,
fast, just after,
leaving just the
sound of slamming doors.

Intentions that I live
to be myself,
despite the pain I feel
when I love you, despite
your sometimes feet of clay,
are true and real.

Your dispassion,
standing coolly there,
outside my home of love,
will not pull down its walls
that shelter us,
nor will the often chill
within your heart
tear warmth and sweetness
from my love,
to toss them in the wind.

I have no way to end this poem.
The future will provide its final lines.
I’m feeling dramatic today, it’s true,
but the pain I write in is real.
I want to see your eyes, see the boundary between the moment and you.
This is what you get for being really nice to me, then going away right after:
Whinging and tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.
Civilization has fled for the nonce.
I’m sitting at your feet on an uncushioned low stool of woven thorns, not of willows.