JEANETTE WILLERT

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Image by Julian Vinci

Inside, for a cup of Darjeeling

They walked the beach, at Coronado
then folded to the sand
to witness the ocean shattering in.
Interior girls, used to paper, pen and books,
they sat a long while, watching, hearing
a quickening tide suck the sand
as it receded and readied
a new assault on land.

Though the sun shone in shifting
patterns on approaching waves,
a threat stirred there.
Something ominous obtruded
in the hissing susurrus and sudden hush.

Close by, the old hotel lounged
in prim Victorian pose.
It summoned the interior girls
to tea and four safe walls,
perhaps even perfumed stationery
in gold and damask festooned rooms.

The Medusa Factor

Do you suppose we all have friendships
that sour as surely as buttermilk;
what was once cream risen to the top
turned?

So it was with us: delight
soured to animus. And, so, we
lived out our last collegial years,
intense, at odds.

Years piled onto untidy years
since our unraveling— permitting me,
at the mention of her name,
to emit a disinterested yawn.

Then, she died—
younger than the norm.
And I am
confused
at the whoosh of loss
that flushes my veins.

A sadness seeps in
as I realize a Medusa
figures as largely in a life story
as any Eros, Pandora or Athena.

Old friend,

when we met
your hair was
straight and dark,
swayed, even in day,
with native allure

We stood so straight
like bamboo stalks
certain, sure,
our shoots green,
deep as emeralds

We knew then
what we doubt now.
(life was declarative,
not interrogative)

Could we have won
without that cool assurance?

Denying life’s lethal intent,
didn’t we shine?

Jeanette Willert was Director of the Western New York Writing Project at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. A recent Vice-President of the Alabama State Poetry Society, she was their 2018 Poet of the Year. Her chapbook Appalachia, Amour won the Morris Chapbook Award (2017), Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Negative Capability Press has just released her first book of poetry, it was never Eden (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

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