Once, numbed and split apart
with all the casualness of a letter-opener
firm against the fat contents of a long-awaited envelope,
my body revealed a face,
the face of my son about to be born.
The doctor was startled to see his eyes,
already open, intent upon him,
eyes that spoke of other worlds,
of a reason for being, being here, being now,
his seven pounds a screaming missive from most high.
For ten years past, night after night,
he keeps his eyes open as long as he can,
thoughtful dots in the dark, for the day
could never extend itself enough to please him
nor to hold his magical masterly plans
and too, there are worries: of earthquakes,
a friendship gone wrong, a love that might
disappear unintentionally, like a mom
mowed down by a car or a dad who worked
too hard, a stammer that won’t, and more.
Eventually, my own body weary from the effort
of imposing a sleep he does not want,
I come to turn out his light and find
his eyes closed at last, limbs limp, seeming
grateful for the slow and slower breath, the
weight of them against the hockey stick
sheets like four pucks landed in their nets.
Sometimes the curtain lifts a little, letting in
the gasp and sigh of the world he’ll inherit,
and out skate his dreams.
This poem was first published in an earlier version under the title “My Son, Unable To Sleep” in CV2 in 2001.
How beautiful…….she sleeps,
gathering the early light
like a sail filling with wind,
her face composing
its first smile
of the day:
little boat loaded
with last night’s dreams.
Like Mona Lisa,
whose fathomless eyes are a wake
from the little boat sailing
back and forth
from secret to secret
right in front of us, turning us
into a crowd of craning necks,
so much wanting
Looking at a loved one sleeping was the impetus for this poem. It won second place in a contest by Pandora’s Collective and was published in 2012.
More good news! My poems “Always, In Returning” and “In The Cathedral” are now up at the lovely Taos Journal of Poetry & Art, along with many other beauties from writers I’ve long admired. Please do scroll through this Issue 10 to see what I mean! Many thanks to editors Cathy Strisik and Veronica Golos!
A couple of hundred miles up the coast
two weeks into a summer of cruising
we end our day of fishing with a movie.
But the shouting and shooting carve sharp
initials into the tree-deep silence here,
so I step outside, right onto the glittering
dance floor of an olive-black sky
on a clear, good night. My mind whirls,
words falling far away, then my fears,
then even the best of the best in me, all
dwarfed by this lavish sprinkling of stars:
confetti of the gods, tossed long ago upon
a lifted veil—marrying me now to the
faintest glimmer of worlds beyond ours.
I gaze, it seems forever, a moth burning
to remember a dream wings can’t forget.
I am thrilled to have this poem nominated for the Best of the Net 2017 Anthology by editor Cristina Norcross of the Blue Heron Review, where it appeared July 2016!
She was lost and late and frantic
when she pulled over to ask me
for directions. And so close!
A block the other way lay her destination.
Discouraged, she had turned off too soon.
Sometimes it happens that way.
And sometimes the road simply ends
and you know you’ve missed
the turn. But when it’s late
in life, and it’s your turn that
you’ve avoided or can’t find,
when it’s your appointment
with fate you think you’ve missed,
or when the path you’re on turns
out to really be someone else’s, say,
who lives there, in that neighbourhood,
who could help you?
None better than the yardless dog
at your heels, growing wilder,
more wolflike by the second,
those nips of dissatisfaction
ripping your good pants,
the barks of disapproval
stilling the nice hand
that would have fed it,
the sickening plunge of your stomach
as you realize this is all wrong,
making you run now, run for the life
you meant to live.
stands like a bearded yogi
in the willow-edged stream
that runs under the main road
an easy block from the sea,
waiting for his own kind
At that intersection
of necessity and desire,
it is no accident when
the still life breaks from
its green-daubed canvas
with the long, scissored plunge
of his beak, and swallows whole
and writhing, the little fish
that almost made it.
Sometimes, in the rivering
silence between two hearts,
I am stalked by
an elegant longing
and taken suddenly
by its gleaming need
And hope I do not
reach too slowly
into the sea-deep amber
light of its promise,
like these bare and slender
branches that have crept from
their tangled weep of shadows,
This first appeared in North Shore Magazine and is included in my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.
My poem “Just in Time”, inspired by this painting by Lenore Conacher, is now up at https://mockingheartreview.com/volume-2-issue-3/lynne-burnett/ with many other gems. Many thanks to editor Clare Martin for including it! Lenore Conacher was a Gibsons, BC artist whose work I had the good fortune to see firsthand and whose “Time” series led to a collaboration of sorts: 17 poems for 17 paintings!