F.E.Walls’ poems appear in Pontoon, Ekphrasis, damselfly press, Avocet, & Strange Poetry among others, the writing text, Writing Across Cultures, & the anthology, Peace Poems V. 2. The poets who inspire her include Tomas Transtromer, William Stafford, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, & Jane Kenyon. She blogs at http://wordandimageworker.com.
How many secrets does the river hold?
How many letters did you throw from the bridge
listening to distant bells call the hour –
your Buick parked nearby at midnight?
How many secrets does the river carry away,
soaking the ink from the paper
into the mouths of fishes,
into the swirling black depths?
That secret you hold closer than breath,
release it into the purifying stream.
Let the bells toll another’s death,
feel the rain touch your face.
The baptism of stillness can be yours.
Each scrap of your betrayal
erased in the swift channels,
so you can believe come morning
in your own innocence.
Sister Mary of Christ leans toward me,
our forefingers touch, then hook around each other
through iron lace dividing the cloistered room,
air in the convent still as the cross.
In her black habit, she talks of boysenberries
tied up carefully on horizontal wires, carrots thinned
to the call of songbirds, and her ceaseless
prayers for the world.
Finishing my news of our parent and siblings,
then, I feel my slow-burning anger,
her semi-annual letters that arrive promptly
like the bell that calls her away to vespers.
From your side porch, one day
your wordless grunt loud enough
to call me from my kitchen,
blood dripping from your cupped hands,
clots flooding mouth and nose,
I jumped the fence to staunch the flow.
You feuded with your neighbors
on the south. Their diesels hurt your head.
You said, Not zoned commercial, and turned them in.
Their high fence built to the sidewalk impenetrable.
They blocked your driveway,
you blocked theirs.
Early on, you chased boys from my yard, watched my house,
lent me shovels, you said, Everyone calls me 'Nellie,'
later on, Not so good today.
Some days the drapes were never drawn.
Then, you outlived your sons.
Across the fence, I was a shadow to your clouded eyes.
You called to me beyond your roses.
An Affair of Dreams
He has etched her into his garden
among the nocturnal lilies,
again and again, amid the brief, white lilies.
She has gone into the soil, to humus
where his hands caress its darkness.
He molds this soil around the roots of plants
stolen from the green house,
their tiny roots untested by rain, wind or sun.
Beware, they may take hold,
grow into redwoods, or a forest of birch,
an avalanche of poppies.
This soil never diminishes
but erupts replenished, ripe with life, solid yet loose.
Then, he will let her feed him small tomatoes,
sweet as candy, and blueberries.
Just do not close that door to the dream
and leave her unsheltered,
pulsing for his touch,
with this knowledge of ruin,
this secret ruin.