2020: a poem

Illustration by the author

This year the earth cried,
“Unclean! Unclean!”
We covered our faces
To follow the law.
We stood at a distance
As lepers of old.

Those ten ambushed the Healer
As He passed by.
They ought to have called out the state-sanctioned warning,
But instead they addressed as Master
Him Who spoke…

Illustration by the author

Eye-level with a six-year-old,
Candy-studded cupcakes smile at me,
Red Twizzler mouth,
Gummy peach ring eyes.

Plated caterpillar,
Cakes curved serpentine
Slither from hands grandmotherly, arthritic,
Polished, fragrant.

She made them for my little sister’s birthday,
Sailing into rustic cabin kitchen
Confident, serene,
Golden chains dangling.

Outside, Wyoming summer:
Sun on pine, on red dirt, on water
Burns incense to tired deities,
Blinding us, boring them.

Inside, this saccharine offering greets me
As screen door slaps frame,
Inviting indulgence, entrapping;
Warning as wild Leviathan of chaos to come.

Glendo Reservoir, Wyoming

There is a spit of clay
Hiding under the waves
Of a man-made lake
In southern Wyoming.

It has been there
Since the Army Corps of Engineers
Dammed up the North Platte River
Flooding this valley with recreation.

In the hottest summers
This peninsula surfaces
As the farmers deplete the reservoir
For their thirsty crops and cows.

Summers past, it called me out to walk its neck and shoulders,
Even to its nose,
Soothing the bare, wave worn Wyoming mud
So long forgotten.

What did it grow before the deluge,
Before the waters closed over
Welcoming jet skis and outboard motors
To scream above?

Waters will return, and so will I,
This time with my husband
And my first born still in my womb,
Waiting for my waters to recede.

The Beach at Fecamp, 1881 by Claude Monet

Water shapes earth
As age shapes man.
Now advancing,
Now retreating.
Waves disintegrate layers
Smoothing here,
Serrating there, as the superficial shears away.

French-Atlantic cliffs
Like a wrinkled uncle, stern in humor,
Face west.
I walk the crevices of his face,
Gleaning what treasures I can.

Tiny lives dwell in…

Hannah Newton-Smith

Wife and Mother

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