by Laura Hammonds
We drink more coffee than a dozen writers,
dance in the car, and
move towards the trilliums in bloom.
We touch the smooth, silvery bark of maples and birches:
a woods at once canopied with new-yellow-green leaves
and carpeted with short, white flowers.
We smell damp dirt in the humid hills of hardwoods,
navigate the drier outsides of sticky, chocolaty paths,
tread timidly in tennis-shoes, through wetter spots, where tires have been.
We rock on a shaded, cement back-porch, sip cans of cool, fizzy, fruity water,
watch a tiny piney-squirrel sway atop a neighbor’s birdfeeder,
listen to the brown birds in the oak complain, as he snarfs the small seeds: their supper.
We see the beach’s wet pebbles beneath our rain-boots, or,
under sun-burnt feet, nearer the water’s edges, far from your orange towels, and
walk warm, wet dunes with nothing in our pockets but heart-shaped rocks.
We search for darkness on gritty, grey, gravel roads,
the meteors shower from the Milky Way in sparks, far from your black truck and the high corn,
the buzz and sizzle of the thick, electric wires above spook us back to the city.
We look over tall and dry grasses to the chilly blue Lake, which is building sandbars for no one,
hear the crunch of scattered leaves in the drifts of sand
that sit on the rickety boardwalks and blow past the boarded up bathrooms.
We write papers or poems in a grocery’s café, by wide windows, during a premature dusk,
buy thin potato chips and crème filled long-johns , or,
break over refrigerated California sushi rolls, chicken salad croissants, and red grapes.
I open your card, the one with penciled outlines of your heart-shaped rock collection,
a Longfellow poem inside about arrows and songs and friendship,
your gift: a bag of gifts: sixteen, or more, and all just for me, and all just for my birthday.
We wear wool scarves you knitted last spring,
walk past the white-roofed, red barn, in snow, ankle-deep,
my small boot-print in yours, through flakes and frozen pinecones.
We talk inside an atrium full of plants,
the scrape of chairs echoes in the space and cloudy light,
people in tight suits, sweaters, and sometimes heels, peer down from their glass elevators.
I sit to write you a December birthday poem:
something that will say:
I hope I bring a fraction of the joy to your life that you bring to mine.
Dedicated to Jaim, in celebration of his birthday (2018)
If you’d like to contact that poet: email@example.com