Poetry Dispatch No. 1 | August 2, 2005
by Amber Coverdale Sumrall
In your old pickup we drive the length of the island looking for blackberries and trails that lead to the lighthouse, tell stories about our six cats, the ones we divided when I left. I took your favorites, the ones that were mine before we met. Your fifth marriage is faltering. I am falling in love for the third time since we separated. All you want to do is fish in your father’s rowboat, build a small cabin on five acres of land. Beyond right now, I don’t know what I want. Somewhere on Orcas another woman dreams of you, waits for you to enter her life.
We smoke from your well-seasoned pipe, nervous as new lovers. Those last months I refused to get high with you; we always fought afterward. I remember why I loved you and why, after ten years, I left. The reasons blend together, rise with the smoke and dissipate. You ask me to tell you why, once again. Each time the story is different, a work in progress. Days pass in one afternoon. Is there still a chance, you ask.
We smile at one another, our defenses down. No one knows us better. At the trailhead you pick purple flowers, hand them to me, suddenly shy. I trip over exposed roots as we walk, instinctively take your outstretched hand then let it go. In the lagoon a pair of herons dance for one another, lowering their long necks in courtship. Hidden behind boulders, we watch in silence until the birds lift and disappear beyond the lighthouse.
There is always a chance, I say.
from Litany of Wings. © Many Names Press