The World We Wanted Shone So Briefly

By Gail Martin

Featured Art: Cicadas by Scott Brooks and Wendy Minor Viny

Real life was finally about to begin.

Remember the romance of the silver cigarette case

in college? The integrity of your firstborn’s eyelashes?

 

We discarded alternate destinies like tired cards

in the Flinch deck.  We were only looking forward.

 

Of course, like the teeth of beavers and horses, there

are parts of the past that never stop growing.

Garage – tree house – vacant lot kinds of cruelty–

how we took turns being mean.

 

And later, some serrated evenings, dinners

of bluster and recoil, dodge. Flowers sent

or not sent to someone’s funeral.

 

Mostly there are the years you watch

your neighbors’ cars slide in and out of their garage.

Between blue herons and tumors, you change

the sheets.

 

We were all surprised to find ourselves old

but really the signs were everywhere, and we

acknowledge we’d been told. Name one

important thing that has not already happened.


Gail Martin’s book Begin Empty-Handed won the Perugia Press Poetry prize in 2013 and was winner of the Housatonic Book Award for Poetry in 2014. The Hourglass Heart (New Issues Prose and Poetry), was published in 2003. She works as a psychotherapist in Kalamazoo, MI.  Recent work can be seen on Blackbird, Juxtaprose, and Willow Springs. Her third collection, Disappearing Queen, won the Two Sylvias Wilder Prize and will be published in 2021.

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