Jan/Feb 2001 Poetry

Two Poems

by Larry Hirshberg


The Geode

"…should have been filled with crystals of some sort. Where that burst of flame came from is anybody's guess," Savard mused. "Not from those heavens," MacKay defined, indicating the sky, "and not from this Earth."

Shivering and sweating, you continue up the hill.
(She never knows what she holds,
until her hand finally opens.)
Your foot drops into a large hole
and you go down on one knee,
       serving gravity, or April.
You rest, perplexed.

The hole opens as you attempt to extract
your foot. You lie next to it, headlamp
       into it. It's a small cave with a pile
of rounded stones at the bottom.
(Quebec: the loosening fist of Canada.)

Hours later, in your garage, you are astounded
when you place several of the stones on your workbench,
and they are still warm. (Explanations here,
       often in French, never seem to clarify.)
So you get the hammer.

It was a spring afternoon, not far from Vermont.
You were walking up the hill you learned to walk uphill on.
You found some warm stones in a cave -
This is what you try to tell the firemen.

When the stone divided under the hammer
       you lost everything.


Fresh Fruit and Personal Politics

"I found a watermelon under your bed."
"A watermelon?"
"What did you expect to find?"

Between us hangs an apple,
slowly spinning like a planet or a moon.
Your words orbit the apple
then worm their way to and through
       its polished surface.

(The soft spots on old lemons. The accusations.
The old wooden picking ladder. The broken bone.
The sting of citrus. Original feelings.)

If we're a rock band, my song is a pint
of decomposing berries. Your notes may be wrong,
the way you whisper them into that black banana.
I'm not saying they're wrong,
       they just sound wrong to me.

Every spring, blooming orchards ride
the hills. The orioles return, and no one can argue
with their song. Each fall, crows descend
onto newly resting fields, and no one
       needs to ask what they expect to find.


Previous Piece Next Piece