Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

Love's Release

 

 

Last night when I kissed you

I found me— a child,

            dropping

            stored

            hurts

like rose petals

in a May procession.

 

 

 

 

 

Death’s Touch

 

His sign of the cross

bid goodbye to steamed

meats, rubber sheets

as canned applause drifting

from other rooms

trailed

his steely chair down

polished corridors

lined with carts of empty

trays passed beeping

monitors, blue

computer screens

on the terminal ride

into my study.

 

Like the immigrant

descending a gang plank

onto promised

streets of gold,

he crossed the threshold

into my treasured room

where shelved voices

spoke tales in languages

he never learned;                                   

no comfort could

my august companions offer

this crisp and creased

master of needle and thread

whose fine features

defied the illness

that hollowed his bones—

whose crumpled raincoat

signaled surrender.                                                 

 

Lying passively on a metal

motorized bed

centered

in my life’s workshop

he shared his truth…

“It’ll take about a month;”

his cool confession

spilled onto the floor

where strangers stood

to offer nourishment

to cleanse

his pained body.

 

Between shifts and

shadows of daylight

in the quiet of our

aloneness divided

my tip-toed offers

scratched a long-protected

modesty causing tears of

embarrassment,

freezing my reach 

like dirty hands of

childhood that had

threatened to soil his suit.

 

Catherine Arturi Parilla is author of A Theory for Reading Dramatic Texts, and teaches creative and expository writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her poems have appeared in POEM, Wisconsin Review, descant, Compass Rose, Eureka Literary Review and forthcoming in Eclipse. She lives in Alpine, NJ.