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Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Pamela Harrison


Ashes
 
 Betty shuts the piano
 and turns away.
 
 No solace in it.
 She cannot play
 
 an instrument gone
 dead beneath her hand.
 
 The empty notes grate
 like wind-driven sand.
 
 She trails the light
 from window to window—
 
 looking for what? A song
 whose cadenced glow
 
 fades by the hour,
 a rhythm in the bass
 
 that bound one moment
 to the next—erased.


Redress
 
 Betty rocks back and forth
 over cracks in the floor.
 Rupture rises in her gullet.
 
 She wants to smash something,
 throw buckets of paint
 in black X’s on their bed.
 
 Hurt pride craves redress,
 and she must soon
 decide how much.
 
 She knows she’s the only
 woman for Leon, the girl
 was never an earnest rival.
 
 In time, she takes her shears
 to Leon’s jeans.
 Slung on the couch
 
 when he comes home,
 all his crotches are air-conditioned.
 Betty’s some improved.



 Bedrock
 

 In the slanted cast of evening light
 beneath the swoop and flight of scissortails,
 
 Leon watches the stormy courses of the sky
 disperse above the patient land.
 
 Pushing past the rusted screen,
 he joins Betty after supper on the porch
 
 grateful that she will stay—
 that they still share a husbandry
 
 that uses every last thing up
 before throwing it away.



 Blue Sky
 
 When the low rooms pinched
 and she thought she’d suffocate
 in the linty rub of family ties,
 
 Betty dropped them like a lead bucket
 and strode out the back door
 to the far rise of the field. There,
 
 in the lonely sough of dry grass,
 beneath the expanse of blue sky
 that vexed Leon and chafed his pride,
 
 all the wadded, knotted tangle
 of their humanness shrank to nothing.
 Seeing her refuge
 
 bathed in that vastness and light,
 she knew how small she was
 in God’s own eye: sky, space,
 
 the emergent urge from which her life
 miraculously sprang and to which
 it would be gathered back.
 
 Like coming home after bitter journeys,
 sleeping in her own bed and clean sheets.