Jan/Feb 2019 Poetry

Two Poems

by Christine Potter

Image salvaged from public domain

On an 1894 Preacher's Traveling Reed Organ

It probably survived by being broken, never
wired-up for someone's psychedelic band
in the 60's, not interesting to children who'd
have abused it casually as they do aged dogs

they are told not to bother. Shaped like a tiny
chapel itself: black wood, tarnished gilt, legs
meant to fold under so it could be carried.
Weak and tired as any of us are when love

surprises us and we find ourselves needed
once again. My husband has repaired it and
playing it is like riding your first bicycle uphill
on a warm day full of white-flowering trees,

or maybe like your grandmother's voice, not
when she was scolding you but when she
sang the alleluias from "The Strife Is O'er,"
and freed your hair from the braids you hated

so she could brush it for you. See? It's just the
two of you in your bedroom, after supper, and
the shades are pulled down against the length
of the light. She stands behind you, lost in song.


A Gift

The moon never tried to comfort me nor
the snow clouds just beginning to haze
their halo around it. It's only what I recall

and hope for still. Likewise, the quiet
after ten or eleven at night on our old road
that looped around winter trees long before

it was named or paved, long before I worried
my sleep away. Long before I slid out of bed to
stand barefoot on the cold front porch, the creek

spoke and agreed. That sound makes me want
to find shoes, to walk across the yard and sit
on the footbridge. Mercy, mercy, mercy, water

splashing over dark rocks, my breath slowed,
a gift accepted. My eyes understand this night,
stars I know and stars I do not know above.


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