AS A GHOST I’LL MAKE SURE THAT YOU’LL KEEP ON RUNNING INTO ME
BACK AND FORTH, IN SOME SHAPE AND FORM WE WILL BE…”
I think she was hoping he was really
It is easier to greet a stranger
than a friend when your eyes are puffed and red
from weeping; your nose and lips swelled with grief.
(She dreamed, the night before, about eating
the last of some dark, sweet dates – soft salted
with tears – as her world lost color, lost warmth,
lost light. She ate dates in that dream as fast
as she could to enjoy as many as
possible before the dark world ended.)
So, it was better to see a gardener
in front of her, a spade in one hand and
the smell of earth around him.
Here was a man to explain:
A question or two, Sir…where there was stone,
now there is space, cool, dark, empty. Where there
was a dead man, there are rags on the floor.
Tell me, where have they taken the body?
She is calmer than when she first arrived.
And now she notices. She notices.
Yesterday, when the rain began, I saw it was rain from the past.
There was a seizure of wind and then a deluge in earnest.
In that past rain, I had a raincoat, lavender blue in color
and the rain held delicious secrets which I cherished.
Now, I want only the sun. It was a shock when I realized it–
only the sun–and long days full with Spring and Summer songs.
Do the years turn lavender blue raincoats into a kind of sepulchre,
one that embraces then imprisons what was cherished?
I think so. I was a princess then, wore clear plastic boots
over my shoes and put out my tongue to catch rain.
“Don’t do that” a man told me. “It’s too sexy. Makes me hard.”
That was the rain back then–cold and strange on the tongue
and safe to rest my lashes in. What is safe now?
When this rain from the past began, all places looked
alike to me. After this, perhaps not so much…
Inspired by the Song: “Lavender Blue,”
music and lyrics by Larry Morey and Eliot Daniel, 1948
Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (Deerbrook Editions). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press), and LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH—a memoir of her father, (one of the first men ever to be hired at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA in 1943)—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989.
Newberry has been included in It Happened Under Cover, Ascent Aspirations’ first two hard-copy anthologies, also in the anthologies In The Company Of Women, Blessed Are These Hands and Veils, and Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She has been widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad.
She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.