Jul/Aug 2014 Poetry

The Visitors

by Marjorie Mir

Image credit: Jane Ades, NHGRI, Digital Media Database, www.genome.gov

Image credit: Jane Ades, NHGRI, Digital Media Database, www.genome.gov

The Visitors

before sorrow, exile, loss,
Demeter and Persephone
were called by happier names:
Kore, Earth's child, her growing girl,
Chloe, "green shoot,"
in let-down summer skirts,
Demeter's younger self.
We, knowing nothing,
took them as they came to us,
children like ourselves.

Kore was the first,
staying a few brief weeks each year
to join us on our street,
always, somehow, a surprise,
wispy, slender, moody sometimes,
a child who, by her presence,
made things happen.

The moment she arrived,
skates rolled out of hibernation,
jump-ropes slithered down from shelves,
took up their slapping/whisking
brush-steps on the pavement.

Short socks unfurled in dresser drawers
like nestled cats awakening.
Chalk and talismanic potsy stones
hopped from sweater pockets.

Chants, rhymes and incantations,
mute as monks all winter,
found voices,
soon had knees and rubber balls
dancing to their tune.

She went away unnoticed
in the clamor she had caused.

Chloe came strolling leisurely
to sit beside us on the stoops
or crane-step over bubbling roads
toward shade's out-stretched libation
in a park.

She twisted time around her finger,
charming it to do her will,
brought the slow, sweet drift of days
slipped free from their moorings,
the wet grass breath of nights.

They come back, of course.
Is that Kore, slower now,
with flowers from the market?

Chloe, the ample neighbor
kneeling in her garden plot?

We and they, our shadow selves,
tease us, tag us
and run out of reach.

A leaf left as a bookmark
might recall a season,
though not the child
who left it there,
never the distraction
that drew her from the page.


Previous Piece Next Piece