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Image by Edward Paterson

The Exchange

I say I am the unsolved equation 
of a hoop that never stops rolling toward nirvana.

He says I’m opulent in words
and paints and perseverance.

I say I am rich in books,
and poems and stories.

He says I’m a woolgatherer
a playful otter, a sun shining through the clouds.

I say I am a good friend
a call for the lonely or sad or happy, a smile yellow and radiant.

He says I’m aquamarine calm,
scary right about first impressions, a straddler of yin and yang.

I say I am a lush magnolia in full bloom,
a June flower garden, a lusty ballad fiddled at dusk.

He says I’m elemental as oxygen
ephemeral as a dream a myth of my making

I say I am an ocean rushing to him,
a compass that points in his direction, towards memories dust-kissed by the stars.

He says, Hold my hand, love.
we’ll walk together until the stars go out.

What the Man Needs is No Different than the Boy

Born to a military family’s
nomadic existence
transfer orders dispatched
them from billet to billet.

He learned to pack
his life in a box,
keeping science fiction
books and his binoculars close.

His father loaded their Rambler,
bumper bumping the ground
as he waved to left behind
friends from the car window.

At the new schools,
he chose solo assignments,
hung out in the library,
avoided the playground battlefield.

When his father deployed 
on classified missions
his mother trooped them 
back to family in Brooklyn.

On domestic assignments,
they hopscotched 
across the country:
from Virginia to Indiana, Ohio to New Mexico.

I see his independence,
his self-reliance formed
of constant leave takings
because of his father’s march to duty.

I tell him,
Honey, you needed roots.

He pulls me close,
I have the stars.

My Darling
My Darling

Every day, I notice the axis of my universe
rotates closer and closer to you. I offer up
my plebeian heart as the clock’s minute hand thuds 
moving click by click into the future.
We have this sliver of time, 
the verdant silk of now.

Lately, I mouth half-notes
of a song and hum to myself—
“I’ll spend these precious days with you.”
Time bobs and swirls into a translucent blur
spinning a cocoon around me, around us,
wrapping us in its constant motion.

Every day, I stare into the heavens
to see if the moon shines through
a cloak of clouds and look
for forever beyond timeless eternity
of worlds beyond our house in the city.
When I look closer there you are standing beside me,

spending your precious days with me.

Peggy Heitmann likes to tell people, I was born with a story in my mouth. She is a word artist who craves exotic elixirs of words and a visual artist who makes art to give to family and friends. She’s happy to say people consider her a good friend. She has published poems in Mockingowl Roost, Kakalak, and Heron Clan, among others. You can find Peggy reading her poem, Love Portrait at Sixty-Five on WNIJ’s Poetically Yours January 4th show. She lives in the Raleigh, NC area with her husband and two cats.


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