Carlene M. Gadapee

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Image by Hayden Scott

1972

The rising hiss of cars shushes me, mid-imagining,
and the plashy drippings of an early morning rain
on wet pavement remind me that the past is mostly

fiction. Memories are imperfectly stitched together
with a yearning that hurts and cannot be helped.
White rose petals fall to the insistent rain. Maybe

I can almost capture a snug little wind-ward house
by a cove, a cascade of beach roses by graying posts
of a crooked fence tipped to the shifting sands.

Morning glory vines tangle with abandoned lobster
traps and curl around sea-worn rocks. Hidden tide-
pools shimmer in shadows. I’m looking for guppies

with Nana, a pint glass canning jar in my hand,
scooping a temporary playmate to watch until sunset.

She and I will wander back to the beach, content.
I release my wiggling captive to the waves.

Town, Late September

Spotted yellow leaf mold and wisps
of white woodsmoke overlay exhaust
fumes like a long-forgotten memory
or a half-remembered perfume.
Ruby-hued chokecherries leak summer’s
last sweetness from splits, skin too ripe
to bear one more day of warmth. Dusky
red crabapples hang from laden branches,
brush across chain link fence, tumble
with staccato surprise to the crumbling
grey pavement under wheels of a too-late
soccer mom on her way to the game.
In her wake, dry leaves retreat to the curb,
the air pierced with the sweet, overripe
odors of crushed and windfallen fruit.

Potatoes

“A momentary stay against confusion.” –Robert Frost

Parsimony is born from shaken dreams.
To dig potatoes out of cold loam, to stand
erect amid holes dug deep enough to claim
kinship with burrowing creatures, is faith kept.

Leave no clod unbroken lest there is one
undiscovered tuber, grown round and brown.
This is sustenance created from soil and sun.
We spread them to cure in crisp air.
We plan how to make them last.

What has become of us, used to touching
and discarding convenience like refusals
of improbable belief? The inexhaustible
supply has gone dry. Common things now
uncommon. Yet, we have more than we had:

partnered tasks bring simple joy. We wield
a spade, a hoe, garden twine, tomato stakes–
so much at stake and so much rewarded.
We fill the freezer and the time.

Carlene M. Gadapee teaches high school English in northern New Hampshire, and she is the Associate Creative Director and Education Consultant for The Frost Place in Franconia, NH. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, among them Waterwheel Review, Smoky Quartz, Margate Bookie, bloodroot, and Gyroscope Review. Carlene lives in Littleton with her husband, a bossy dog, and a beehive.

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