CHERYL CAESAR

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Stored credit

Every time you stooped to pet the cat
and she reared up on two legs,
fitting her head into your hand
like a ball in a cup;

And every time you went to shut the fridge
and the door so graciously said, Allow me,
and finished closing itself;
And each time
that magnetic charging cable leaped
into the port, like an eager cadet;

Not to mention all the green lights
you hit, and the mornings
(rarer now) when the life force
propelled you from your bed
before the voice of duty called:

Surely these have all been adding up.
Surely there’s a cache of energy,
somewhere. Let’s go through pockets,
turn over sofa cushions, like kids
who hear the bells of the ice-cream truck.

Let’s find the slush fund (oh, so aptly named)
to see us through these dark, damp
and depleted days. Didn’t Einstein say,
no energy is ever lost? Courage, my friends;
good luck to you, my fellow treasure seekers.

Photo: on the dock at Black Lake, Michigan

We stand, backlit by bands of pale pastels.
The cream sky tinges yellow down to rose,
to the horizon: charcoal pencil line.
The lake makes subtle ribbons, rose and blue,
then grey, then almost back to black again.
Like palest chakras. An unbended rainbow.
Folds of water mirror folds of sleeve.
Soft horizontals, like your arms around me.

Here you don’t see the dock, but it supports us.
Grown and constructed, it will last our time.
Eighty years perhaps, a slim horizon.
Unknown depths above us and below.
We have this wooden shelf beneath our feet,
and arms to hold each other, hearts to warm,
and these last rays of sunset, bringing forth
the answering life glow in our human faces.

Photo by Masaki X CraftedBean

Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. She has published her poetry and translations of Jean Tardieu’s in Blackberry, The Coe Review, Labyris, The Wayside Quarterly, Stand and The Dialogue of Nations; more recently in Writers Resist; and Poetry Leaves and The Mark Literary Review (forthcoming).

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