Tuesday Morning Poem


To a woman I might have loved

I raised my hand to my forehead, scanning—
(I don’t know what for, was it fever or despair?)

hearing my father had died, unable
to reach his body before its burial

I brought my hand to my breast, thinking
heartburn or infarction and wept for him,

for others, for all my corpses

but that was years ago, and then I hear
that yesterday you raised your hand

to your forehead and buckled, rushed
by helicopter to Harborview never knowing

(was it stroke or lost hope?)

a scribbled message that fell into my lap
from a woman I’ve never met (your friend)

said, taken off life support, but the image—
the hand, the puzzled brow, the collapse

so vivid

and how did she know to call me, you and I
(can I say we?) had only just met, and did she know

you had written a poem, sent it to me, as if
seeking my advice about poetry, until

(another hand-to-head moment) I realized it was
you, flirting, but instead of dinner or shy embrace

you are dead. Last night I dreamed our first
kiss, our last kiss, as you darkly departed.


Published in Whirlwind @ Lesbos, Headmistress Press 2016

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3 Responses to Tuesday Morning Poem

  1. Dick Jones says:

    Beautiful, Risa. I love the riffing on the hand-to-head motif.

  2. Linda E Spalding says:

    I too like Dick Jones “love the riffing on the hand-to-head motif.” Imagine my surprise that someone else wrote my words for word first. How cool is that. Lovely, Risa.

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