Batter Up

Cries from a bleacher 
Fan of a different stripe 
Hoots and waves
Shouts to the team

Shout and Shot easy to misspell
Hate not as easy to dispel
Hate upon a field of play
Play just for fun

Play no more, run and hide
Hide and seek metal
Metal that flies
through flesh

Flesh and blood 
Blood-stained second
Second on to third
Third straight to home run

Run for your life
Live. Love.
Pursuit of happiness.
Pledge of Allegiance.

Round the bases
Popcorn, peanuts
Hot dogs, beer 
Fans who cheer

My Country ‘Tis of Thee
Innocence lost in uncivil 
discourse, lost to ugly shouts
When shots rang out.

–Victoria Emmons, 2017

Clean

I remember the 13 x 9 x 2 aluminum version
Carving out perfect brownies for a crowd
Or the glass model 8 x 6 x 2, the smaller size
For the rare few who stayed up late

I remember baked-on grease forever embedded
Into the fabric of the pans, creating their own
Modern artwork in a chaotic kitchen
The result of motherhood gone awry

Baking meant sustenance, but more than that
It revealed ingenious fortitude, cleverness and pride
Combined with creativity that surpassed all else
I remember that creativity, that strength

And I remember the love that went into each egg
Fried into a perfectly shaped circle inside a slice of bread
A circle that we called breakfast, along with crisp bacon
And always a glass of whole milk or juice, our choice

I remember taking turns at the bar, slipping onto a warm stool
In front of a previously occupied plate still wet with yellow yolk
That she shoved aside to replace with a new, warm toad
One that would be consumed in time to catch a school bus

I remember the burnt days, too, clouded with emotion
Fervent spirit doused for an hour or two, yet
Toad-in-a-hole breakfasts kept flying out of her kitchen
Into our hearts and souls, all four of us children

I remember her pans as I retrieve my own small one
From the dishwasher, not as clean as I would like
The glass still living with some of last night’s meal
My carelessness, the wrong machine setting

I remember we had no dishwasher then, a luxury,
Washed by hand, each greasy skillet or brownie pan
Thus why the grease remained, no doubt, what strength
Do children have to scrub away the toughest stains?

Tools at my disposal, I begin to work, fingers dry and sore
From steel wool combined with cleaning powder that
Lasts as long as I do to see every last speck of memory stain
Removed forever, or until the next chicken Marsala bakes

–Victoria Emmons, ©2017

Turning

Twenty-four hours to turn
So they say
That much time to earn
A new day

Not just any new day
I am told
This one will make me
Very old

Turnin’ sixty-five today
Must be time
To begin my play
In good rhyme

Twenty-four hours to turn
This year ’round
Makin’ what I can
‘Fore I drown

–Victoria Emmons, Copyright 2015

Daddy

Your handsome face stares
out from a weathered picture frame
into my life, the life you created.

More than creation, you lifted me into
a world of puppy dogs’ tails, fish
at the end of a pole, and sharpshooters.

Your aim was straight and exact, calculated
so you hit the mark in your patient way, forever
waiting for the rest of us to follow.

You remain my tower of strength, a stable rock
upon which I can depend, the blessing
in an otherwise churning river of disappointment.

I imagine you perched on a stool in my kitchen, sipping
a cup of instant coffee, no cream,
listening to me talk about dreams and lovers.

I picture your advice to me this day, when
fathers everywhere are exalted just for being, for
their love, kindness and understanding.

To feel the comfort of your hug right now, Daddy,
just one more time, would revive my faith in men
and erase the pain for yet another day.

–Victoria Emmons, Copyright 2015

Tide Pools

Night is young
Much to find
As we seek the
Tide that hides

Tasty morsels
Deep within
Its bosom
Cloaked inside

Forks at ready
Aim is sure
Eyes too sharp
Light demure

Camouflage
Protects them all
Nature’s way
Avoid the fall

Stab them quickly
They lay still
Flounder now
Upon the grill

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

Sometimes a Light

Passes through
The morning haze
Signals dawn
About to emerge
In tandem with
Faith and courage

A light so bright
That eyes close
Thoughts reveal
A stillness
A kind of wonder
About life

Sometimes a heart
Peers through a door
Hopes for tomorrow
And breathes anew
As solace for tears
Left behind

A heart so strong
Overwhelming joy
Random love
Kindness filled
To the brim
With tragedy

Sometimes at dusk
Night escapes
Our grasp and
Forfeits sleep in
Favor of dreamy
Peaceful endings

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

Damp, Not Dry

First the face and neck
Then dry left shoulder to wrist
Right arm the length of which
Reaches into the air
Chest, breasts, over and under
Down the core
Then up to dripping hair

A tussle with terry cloth
Leaves hair damp, not dry
One corner in left hand
One in the right
The back and forth motion
Travels the nape of the neck
Clear to the curve of hips

Take a break from
This well worn ritual
To cleanse the mind
If only for a moment
To breathe in the day
Eradicate what ails
Right the world’s wrongs

Erase remaining droplets
From left leg and foot
Notice a razor is required
Then right leg down to toes
Rehang the towel
Time for talk radio
And a fresh, new morning

–Victoria Emmons ©2013