Site design: Skeleton
Sample Poems by Pamela Harrison
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.
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.
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.
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.