Today's poem is by Barbara Crooker


He comes every day, in his crushed-emerald cape, flashing in front
of the kitchen window, quick as a thought, and just as elusive;
one blink, and he's gone. Try to show him to your mother,
who's come by for tea; she doesn't turn quickly enough,
doesn't see his throat, red as a stoplight, doesn't see him
dart in and out of the bee balm, honeysuckle, trumpet
vine. Her skin is thin as a folded roadmap; she's setting
off on a new journey. The tea trembles in its porcelain boat.
She is getting ready to board a great white ship
whose sails are already luffing in the wind;
the hawsers creak and groan, the crew
is ready to cast off. But she is still casting on,
yarn the color of spring grass, yarn the color
of heart's blood, knitting afghan squares
for the homeless. She sips her tea. He flickers
back into view, takes a long sweet drink.
He signals stop, then go; stop, then go,
both directions at once, confusing semaphores
that spark and crackle in the brilliant, merciless sun.

Copyright © 2006 Barbara Crooker All rights reserved
from Atlanta Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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