Yesterday Morning

Floating downstream
in the middle of the river
I had you alone
to myself
and it felt like
we belonged there
as much as the turtles
and the great blue herons
startled into flight
by our strange wings
dipping into the water—
and it felt like calm
had finally arrived
to replace the doubt
that kept trying
to pull me under—
and for the first time
it seemed as though you
(who have never been lost)
might not be able
to find your way home
if we were parted
by the currents
and set adrift
in opposite directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-5-17

 

Beds

Neat and tidy beds
are for beginners
who haven’t spent
enough time sitting
by the open window
with a pillow
crushed between
their chest and knees
breathing in
the lilac gone wild
or the sweet
magnolia ashei
demanding
to be inhaled.
Neat and tidy beds
are for those
who need control
over creativity—
who believe
that letting the soft
and delicate petals
of the columbine
mingle
with the wood mint
might lead to one
taking advantage
of the other.
Neat and tidy beds
have so much
emptiness
pruned into them—
as though
it made no sense
to believe
that the milkweed
and the marigold
could compliment
each other
if they were allowed
the freedom
to touch and bloom
below the sheets
of sunlight
ruffled with
occasional rain.

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-31-17

“Flower Beds in Holland” Vincent van Gogh, 1883

All of You

I wanted
all of you
instead of
just
the part of you
that loved me.
I wanted
the other bits too—
the large
and burdened
sections of you
that felt
unhinged
and reckless
for breaking up
the calm
you thought
would always
be yours.
I wanted you
to want me
to see
your shadow side—
I wanted you
to let me
hold your
sorrow
but I couldn’t
get near enough
to touch it
or to see
the expression
on your face
soften
if you would’ve
let me try
to carry
some of it
away.

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-29-17

Ansel Adams, “Clearing Storm” 1945

Terms

We haven’t
exactly
agreed
on what they are
since we began
in friendship
months ago
but it’s clear
that making love
(or maybe
it was just sex
to you)
isn’t going to be
the beautiful
connection
that causes
your desire
to lean
in my direction
or provoke
an honest
conversation
with the woman
you claim
is too fragile
for the truth.
But I need
to believe
in your integrity—
that it can exist
even if
you aren’t ready
to sign
on anyone’s
dotted line—
so I’ll be
your other love
only if she knows
she’s not
the only one.

DeMaris
5-28-17

“Meridian Street, Thawing Weather,” 1887 by T.C. Steele

She and Me

He doesn’t tell her
about me
because
he doesn’t want
to hurt her
so he hurts me
with that same
silence, which,
to him
seems like a favor
instead of a lie—
so she and me
are two pieces
of cake
before him
and he won’t
finish one
before he starts
on the other—
and I am just a mute
and unheroic
slice of vanilla
being consumed
and enjoyed
and reduced
to crumbs.

DeMaris
5-28-17

Painting by Thomas Benjamin Kennington, “Polishing the Brass” 1912