Tag Archives: American poetry

Two Exit a Poem

we walked apart, for the most part,
rarely hand in hand,
in separate lanes, using different guides,
only one foot of four
ever touching the ground,
making it odd
that we step on each other’s toes
when we never danced closely.

we never danced closely.

Miss Havisham Mails a Letter

She was gifted on horseback,

though reckless in a crowd,

and was not much liked by townsfolk

who read the fury

in each jerk of her head

as contempt

for their small lives,

lived in simple houses

along lanes paved with oyster shells

which fed into Main Street

as offshoots do.


Haughty and hard riding,

dressed entirely in black,

she galloped into town every day

like Hell’s hound


amplifying her aggression

with the piercing cracks

of a riding crop,

commanding her charger,

but mainly, unsettling shoppers and

those out for a stroll.


To them, she was an unstoppable nuisance,

a conceited and spoiled over-aged youth,

with nothing better to do

than block the light from its sundial,

becoming the moment, the reason,

a day of unhappiness anticipates the next.


“But wasn’t she acting,”

I asked my mother,

“you know,

simply playing a part?”


And Mother acknowledged

a theatrical quality

in the dark rider’s daily stampedes,

the urgency in her dismounts,

her sweeps into the post office,

clutching a single blue envelope 

in her left hand.


And so perfect was this effect,

I would have clapped

had I been there.

And she might have acknowledged me,

ever so slightly,

for my rapt attention to a well-staged play.



she might have been a relative of mine,

an eccentric cousin, twice-removed,

who insisted Mother

learn to play the harp

as she was bright-eyed

and talented on the piano.


But everyone to ask about this

is long-since dead.

And I question the strength of my memory

to position her as she was,

as Mother told it.


Though it occurs to me

how effectively

a dark riding costume conceals

feelings of impotence,

allowing a Miss Havisham

to venture into the light.


And I suspect

her lifetime achievements

were bound to the blue letters she posted,

the licked and stamped keys

to her anger,

and disdain for the ordinary,

of which she would not be one.

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