June/July 1998

Five Poems

by Diane Wald

It Had Everying To Do With You

In answer I said I did do that
but you weren't paying attention
He said I was but I wasn't.

A very old love.

It lives in all trees
and in all simple laces
It is a back door
through which we back frontwards

He also said I wish I were
the man in that dream
Well you were not in that one

But each time I've held up my hand to the rain
I think it's had everything to do with you.


She Followed Him Into the Long Wood

Bigger than the field. And remembered, while the longleaves simmered,
the kiss she'd asked for. His breath heaped up
with Indian food.

She followed him to the long wood
in the afternoon. They lay by the pond and he surprised her
with his shirt off. He looked
all dead,
sinking. A tall kid jumped
from the swinging tire
into the cool green water.

Oh, love, she told him, we should go back
and have some tea. They walked in the center
of the hot tar road. Her shoes stuck. He could not
lift her.


Make of It What You Will

but I am not
uncovered. I am covered
in stripes of silence, still,
stripes left over
from a silent child. I'm uncovered
for you,
but unexpectedly. As if
a silent stripe went grey
and bled into
a grey background. But it's not grey
that's discouraging, it's
wildwood, the name of a town
or a river or a field. The name
of a town full of holes
where childhood
seeps through. My Wildwood
Flower: it's the name
of a song,
but I can't find the song
on the tape or the tape
in the box of the past. I have loved
this song
so long, so long.
So long
I can sing it for


Sad Moments of Eternal History

B wonders why I never call him but the arrogance is back; I know where it comes from and I try for compassion but it scares me. Like one time in the bus station, when a man simply turned to another man sitting with him and said, "Go now," and the other man went. Sad moment. And I wanted to say to H you've had so much suffering, but I looked in her glass-front mahogany cabinet where the somewhat antique toys were and I couldn't say it: she had history; I had none. I realized I had been cold, that my pain had caused a closing off, but that I wasn't entirely at war with this pain, that I had memories of oranges, chocolate oranges in the thinnest tinfoil, skies gazed up at from the moist cool earth under the mulberry tree, and hundreds perhaps hundreds of dogs dogs dogs laying their heavy silk-eared dream-laden heads by mine. The sad moments came in baskets: one basket of laundry in the basement where my tall mother said, that happens, that happens, and I don't want to talk about it, go. She was hanging white clothes on the line and the world went bleachy.


I Saw Those Layers Peel Away

but I didn't believe it. You were going at it again, ragging the terrible done-done version of who, just to confuse me, but you didn't know it. On your wall... no I don't want to describe it. I don't want to talk about you. I distract myself with movies. In this one the character known as G is trying to leave a woman, not to leave her forever, but to get on a bus for a while and then return. They are standing on one side of a street he has to cross and she is waiting for a kiss. He kisses her, but it is not all right; it's clear to the woman-- known as B-- and to us viewers, that he was not waiting to give her the kiss, he only noticed that she wanted it and then gave it. A very sad moment, for all of us. The woman, dressed in tight black pants and an old navy jacket, walks slowly back to her car. She lights a cigarette. She lights the wrong end. Another woman walking along the sidewalk towards B notices she's lit the filter end of the cigarette and reaches out and takes it out of her mouth. B stares at her. Says thank you. Starts to cry.

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