A Poem with Roses in it
The world is filled with the notebooks of children.
I am reading a poem I’ll never read again.
I will die without writing all I could.
There are more poems in the world than flowers.

Last night I took off my shoes in the rose garden
to walk through the grass. Some of the roses had a scent,
and some didn’t. One smelled like a pen I had
when I was ten, with a silk rose taped to the top.

When I was writing the first poems of my life,
they came from a rose I bought at a market
near the sea, where a woman with a small brown bottle
poured rose oil into the petals.

So that every poem I wrote afterward
was the mingling of ink and rose.
So that every rose I smelled afterward
was the mingling of ink and poetry and being ten.

When I was ten, I thought I would write everything
I needed to before I died. I thought I would clear each day
like a gazelle over a stone wall. I thought youth
was the heaviest stone, and once free of it, I could do anything.

The notebooks of children are heavy, and filled with the world.
You are reading a poem you will never read again.
Before I died, I counted all the poems in the world.
Listen. There are more flowers.

 

This Thread
Green spider
making a world
out of bridging, a home
of the work she was born to.

Takes from the spool of her body
this thread
wound before her knowing,
to build what no one else sees.

 

Mikvah
Truckee River, California
The water closes overhead
the moment we surface.

The edge of prayer,
where the bride
ends and the wife begins,

is the place where it’s possible
to step into the same river twice.

 

What’s Awake
A small universe
of sparrows
tittering through trees

A doe
well-furred against
the year slammed shut

A grove of mushrooms
wearing suits of ice
that shatter at a touch

Madrone, Madonna
of the wood,
assures
it won’t be long now

All bangles, the river
lurches full-tilt
into time

 

Tidepools
I race against confusion here on earth
under the sun, on this side of birth,
where one half of truth, like a tide, seems best
at first, the better to harvest an exposed shore—

but tested with time, I feel the bottom give,
faint hunger for the seashape in between,
blurred vision of how fleeting and deep it is to live,
each moment fractured, fractal as a crystal

grain of sand—and grasping at the waves’ fingers
scraping past, I ask for anything,
want everything, watch nothing last.

 

Melissa Reeser Poulin writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. Her work appears in basalt, Calyx, Catamaran Literary Reader, Ruminate, and Water~Stone Review, among other journals. She is editing an anthology of new writing about honeybees.

 

Photo:  Wiki.User via Flickr Creative Commons License