Today's poem is by J. Stephen Rhodes


Above broken clouds, Orion and Aldebaran.
Beneath: drowsy rain slows down on our roof,
low in front because of the slope our house sits on.

Below the roof, our bedroom and the bed
on which we sat this morning like marionettes
whose strings are loose but not necessarily undone,

you and I like strangers again, the way we need
to be now and then to make friends with the odd guests
who spring up inside us, old ghosts we have lain aside,

or tried to. Below your skin, your beating heart
and memories of your father's tight grip on the handle
to your door, his need to be right, or better, have you wrong.

Beneath my skull, a brain adept at subterfuge
because what I want is for you not to be
my room-invading mother whose love was like a cloud —

large, hovering, and close, but not too easy
to touch, hiding lightning but just as often
dissipating into empty dark. Below us,

the floor we both stood on when we made up
and held each other with relief for the parents we were not
and for the ones we would not be. Underneath,

the years together: the dancing — pulling apart,
coming close, what ties us tight and holds us up.
Beneath our floor, the footings and basement,

clay, shale, slate and stone sunk deep in mystery,
like what bound us together and supported us
this morning, both what hovers and lies beneath.

Copyright © 2007 J. Stephen Rhodes All rights reserved
from The William and Mary Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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