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Christine Potter: Two Poems

Driving Home Ten Years Ago, We Listen to an Organ CD of "The Ride of the Valkyries" | Zero Degrees At First Light

Driving Home Ten Years Ago,
We Listen to an Organ CD
of "The Ride of the Valkyries"

We crank it so loud the speakers strain
like the waistband of too-tight jeans. Bass notes
pound giant fists at my closed window. Iím sure
weíll end up in the river, freeze our dumb-ass selves,

but you sing with your head stuck out
the driverís side, bay into a blessed smash
of black wind and green Tappan Zee Bridge lights.
Half a mile back you roared our second anniversary

to a friend of a friend: Shacked up two weeks!
And pulled me stumbling out of the party behind you,
suddenly up to my knees in new snow.
At the hillís crest, clunky blue Christmas lights

loop the front porch of what will become our home.
Weíre exactly a month from you wondering aloud
if weíve fallen too fast, a year and a half
from our wedding day. I canít use it for anything,

you say, when I ask you to learn the music
that presses at my chest like a seatbelt. It takes
four hands
. But still you shout Hoya-ta-ho,
skid sideways into the driveway, turn off

the ignition. We open car doors in the sudden quiet
and hear only someone elseís conversation,
a block distant, laced with laughter. The ice
on the front walkís pitted with enough salt

to walk over it easily and the sky clears itself
in cold, gusty blinks of the moon, enormous
as it should be, and glowing in all the right places.

Zero Degrees At First Light

The barometerís almost pinned: Canadian high pressure.
Suddenly, no window is really airtight. Steamed glass
in the kitchen, the kettleís metallic smell.

When I open the front door to the Times, breath stings
like breaking a stick barehanded. Every house on the block
raises a fat plume of chimney smoke to hard, low sun.

I come inside, blooming with cold, and the cats
leap high over my steps to sniff the toes of my slippers.
They hunt the chill exhaled by pages inky with daily

helicoptor crashes, the ten most stressful cities.
Our national alert level is back to yellow,
but terrorists may be using Farmerís Almanacs

to plan further attacks. Middle-aged forgetfulness
probably isnít Alzheimerís, doctors say. Itís Saturday,
and Iím at the start of it, the zero mark,

the record-breaking, frost-nipped morning
that isnít famous, yet. I donít even know
why I am so happy. I go to the kitchen for more coffee,

dazzled in the day-struck brilliance of everything
that hasnít happened, the day-struck brilliance
of everything that already has.

Poet's Biography:
photo of poet Chris Potter has had poems recently published in Full Circle Journal and Eclectica, and has work forthcoming in Miller's Pond and Redactions. She is currently the head moderator at The Alsop Review's Gazebo, an online poetry workshop. Her husband Ken is an organist / choir director, and her two cats, Desmond and Molly, are "half-Siamese and know it."

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