Magdalene Poems

Magdalene (25)

She woke up.
She was fifty today.

Comparisons, she thought.

Then she wrote in her diary:

“Achingly dumb as a dog
Tied to a wrought-iron fence
Outside a coffee shop,
Its ass cold against
The concrete,
Its raw paws
Surrendering to the wait.”

She put her pen down,
Closed the book,
Opened the drawer
Of the night stand,
Gently slid the diary
Into the drawer,
Closed it,
Inhaled the odor
Of George,
Folded back
Her side of the covers,
Lifted her legs
To the floor,
Walked to the bathroom.



Magdalene (24)

We had fostered
Cool tolerance
In our realms,
George fitting himself
For movement with
No tithes of obligation,
And I, willing to
Fall into possibility,
On the shoulders
Of my winding road
To walk in full view
Of all the unknowns,
The bothersome gnats
I learned to love
In their flagrant mystery


Magdalene (23)

Mother always said I was
A certain child.
Of easy affirmations.
But, even in the sun’s warmth,
I could say no
To any man
Who dared to wander
Even tenderly
Into my life.

Take Aaron, the architect.
Thoughtful as a
Spring rain
Knowing just when
To come between
My winter’s inner life
And my summer’s whimsy.

I could trust him
To stay at bay
From my
Braking withdrawals,
Or to lunge
Into my salty needs
In the blink
Of God’s eye,
As the Germans say.

I nodded to myself
Then, in my thirties,
That I could risk
My life with any guy
Who knew physics
And soaring steel,
Or could read a menu
By candle light.

Intrigued as I was
By any man
Who could fill in
Spaces with more
Spaces and firm walls,
I would, with the confidence
Of a straight-backed chair,
Find free-lance writers
Just as flexible on
A winter sled
Or a summer swing.




Magdalene (22)

Anne, my dear,
I never told you
That you slipped
Out of me
Like an old comb
From a back pocket.

A strong sense
I had then
That you didn’t
Beg to be born
But would move
Between city street lights,
Unhurried, unperturbed.

Finished Products,”
You called them
At ten
Confident, as always,
That things would be
What they would be
And no more.

Unless,” as you said,
At sixteen,
They weren’t.”


Magdalene (21)

I married you, my lovely,
Because I knew
You would be lured
By those who would
Camp unabashed
On the edges
Of your calm
Pretense of responsibility.

You would have your furtive bees
Circling another limpid flower,
These wily squatters
Claiming spaces
Foreclosed, too often,
By the cautious
Flashes of your tedium.



Magdalene (20)

On yet another night,
She waited for George
To come home.
He didn’t.

Looking up at the solid sky.
She heard the bustle
Of separate voices,
Whispering their pallid secrets
Of other women, who,
In their nakedness,
Hummed muted tunes
To her sprinter husband,
As brief, in his fidelity,
As a toll booth’s hand.


Magdalene (19)

Eric, my dear,
When I held you in my arms,
Looking at your blank eyes,
I knew that you would drift,
Into your own shoals,
Forever tilting away
From the weight
Of voiceless bruises,
Clutching, as always,
To the fragrance of possibility.

You would sit, my lovely son,
On bar stools,
Postmarking your sweet tales
Of a hunter’s conquests—-
Regal deers, coiled snakes,
Forgetful salmon.



Magdalene (18)

This ragged foolishness, George,
To what end?
I’m thinking tonight
Of being unfaithful,
As I flirt with the dull night
To end the silence of familiarity:
A refrigerator light,
The morning newspaper,
The smell of toast,
The bent metal ribbing
Of my favorite umbrella,
Your veined hand
Between my unwilling thighs.



Magdalene (17)

I remember you, George,
Tired as a rain-sotted leaf,
Flat against the pavement,
Gold in its surrender
To the dazed snow
Of your hospice days.

“Worn out,” you said,
The day before
Relinquishing the final gift
You thought you had in me.

I could not forgive your letting go
To leave me hanging in my guilt,
Forgetting you so quickly
In those brittle days
After whispering your last breath .


Magdalene (16)

You could not run from me, George,
Into the storm of another secret
Unless you thought
That carelessness
Would tip the scales
Of my apathy.

But I would profit
From your rushes
Into the endless
Stock of your diversions,
Winning, of course,
The right to my own havoc.