Poetry from NER 43.2 (2022)
I thought about taking a picture.
To capture what? I decided to live
through the present moment instead:
ephemeral glaze, sentimental risk
with the numb tips of our chilled noses
grazing as we kissed and kissed.
The deep, droning whir of the ferry
boat bloating over Casco Bay, sailing
away from the fringe of Portland, Maine.
It’s inside the small, silent slices of time—
right? The terror of new love! The sun-
stung ripples, which made our eyes drip,
refracting and whiting out the landscape
to bright cream as we approached Peaks
Island. Who lives there? We wondered
and imagined as we gasped at the pristine
houses with massive windows perched
along the periphery. Talkless minutes
dotted with intermittent seagulls squawking
overhead. Cold crunch of November air.
Gentle foam frothing and trailing the stern.
It was almost sunset when I leaned back,
softened, and nuzzled deep in the camber
of your embrace, your chest another miracle
of comfort, your arms, another possible
home. I wasn’t worried about being
too much of myself—yet. In love
again. The first time since the damage
of my divorce. It was gradual, subtly
somatic without the anxiety attached.
You slipped in like a beloved book
or special knickknack that had always
been there, but somehow, I’m just now
seeing it on the shelf stacked and floating
in the part of my heart I’m trying to keep
ajar with a keener warmth. This it. Or itness?
A gentleness, a personal dispersal, not
of light, but a fresh, odd, familiar feeling—
this bluing calmness not totally erasing
the old fears but welcoming the chance
to try again, to be brave again.