Cup without a saucer
First name without a last
Activist without a handmade sign
Monkey without a banana to eat
Home without a state
State without a name
Hand without a finger
Nowhere is home
No place is mine
Where a heart resides in peace
Accepted by rulers
who prey upon strangers
and do not tolerate salt
Weep not for me, sweet redbud tree,
Thy leaves will take no chances
Each heart resides most playfully
Upon thy silken branches
Dangling in the wind they sing
Hearts ready for damnation
Search for love against the wind
And hope for procreation
Young ones be the shiniest
Deep ruby red reaction
Thus what creature dare resist
So lovely an attraction
Seeds strewn about with local help
Assures that love will grow
New heart-shaped leaves thus soon to sprout
Come melting winter snow
Wouldst that my own heart sing so loud
And dance to its own tune
While suitors called upon my door
In light of harvest moon
These ruby lips await the kiss
That stirs my dormant soul
Much as the weeping redbud waits
‘Til she achieves her goal
Be patient, she advises me,
Love grows at its own pace
The kindest words, a gentle touch
That make a red heart race
When redbud leaves remain too long
Their red begins to fade
In favor of a dulling green
That hides beneath the shade
Younger leaves retake the stage
Flash colors in the sun
As older ones accept their place
Their usefulness now done
Yet hidden behind a shady branch
Old lovers rekindle a flame
Dull green, a few new dents perhaps,
Still loving all the same
–Victoria Emmons, 2017
While visiting friends in North Carolina, I discovered a Weeping Redbud tree in the yard. The tree’s red, perfectly heart-shaped leaves fascinated me. Then I noticed the older leaves were solid green, having lost their brilliant, red color. It reminded me of the joy of finding love.
So simple the design of a drawer,
pull and push, search for something lost,
a ribbon, a jar of ground cloves,
zebra-striped pasta long and narrow,
a green marbled heart meant to
give away, but kept.
Drawers contain books to read, journals
to write, secrets to hide or discover,
an entire family history stored for
at least a decade or more waiting
to hand down to the next generation.
The empty one my least favorite, second drawer
of the tall dresser, the one he used to fill
with socks. Now barren, the drawer’s
cedar wood frame houses a familiar scent
that lingers so I won’t forget.
The hour approaches, requires decisions to be made,
choices that will change the course of time,
forever alter your world and hers.
The minute hand on the clock inches forward ever so softly without
a sound, without a warning of what is to come when that hand
strikes the hour, the hour of change. The hour you change into
At six o’clock every day, the minute hand signals your time
to become a man I do not know. Monsieur numéro deux.
Smart at first, funny and suave, le Monsieur
slides into his role with ease.
Master of your own universe, master of what flows into your life,
into your mouth and what flows out of it. Join the party.
Forget whatever must be forgotten.
Be the life you do not lead.
The clock strikes seven, sixty minutes past the bewitching hour
of thoughtful worry about what to do. You lose track of time.
No meaning, no measure. Only the taste of decision lingers
on your tongue.
Indecision, the hand strikes again, this time for naught. Cheeky.
Lose what you have gained. Want what you do not want.
Have what you do not have. Temptation speaks.
Join the party.
Love hangs in the midst of it all, holds your heart close, drowned out
by the sound of indecision. Careful, mate. The party beckons.
Open your eyes. Reveal the party lie. Face truth. Become the original you.
Do not join the party.
What remained of winter washed up into my throat
so you made a cup of strong ginger tea, honey added with lemon.
Your soiled pajamas spun round and round with soap
in a dance that was unexplainable.
Your dance. But I knew why.
Guilt makes you do things.
I needed strong. I needed you.
Your voice faint and mistakenly distant over the wires
even as you stood right next to me.
You hiding. Me guessing.
That game we play over and over.
Maybe I should hide and you guess where.
Hide behind the ache in my lower spine,
hide from the fear buried in my bosom,
hide away the treasures lost to time
and a curvy blonde.
But you stand over me and serve a platter with tea
and sweet chocolate bits.
You convince me to taste you once again.
Insincerity does not become you.