Deidre Pope: Two Poems
Tulips | Chase
It is like surfacing from the bottom of a muddy lake,
where your feet were in up to the ankles and you panicked
that the roots would hold, the sand
turn quick, and they'd find you standing
down there in nothing but your bones.
These dreams are normal, they tell you, tears are good.
Remembering will make you forget.
You drag yourself up from the bottom of the bed
and sunshine is no longer a platitude, but a welcome mat,
a reminder that you have skin.
You think, today, you might begin to count
the pieces of your heart and see what's left.
Fear is in your mouth like a sock. Someone
has left a vase of forced tulips
on your nightstand. In the soup-thin sun
they become lips, peach skin, fresh butter.
They open like six-fingered stars and bend
toward the light.
What are the terms of the search
and why are they different
from what you really want?
There is the new job, floating
like a life-raft just out of reach,
your exhausted arms.
There is the ember of love
tucked under the pillow, the woman
you still have trapped in the kettle
of your stomach, but no longer
know how to taste.
You are dug in, staying put.
Wallowing in average.
You want so much more
than the day will give.
The things you once held out
hope for. What you used
to call dreams and thought
would become as clear as a city
you were approaching, showing
first its shoulders, then hips, long-
line legs through the lifting fog.
The subtle friction of your hands
around a woman's naked
waist. How you rub vaguely
against the hope of release.
How even here, with
the full length of desire
in your arms, you hold on
to everything you hold.
Deidre Pope has published in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Northwest Review, Tar River Poetry and Spoon River Poetry Review, among others, and the anthologies What's Become of Eden: Poems of Family at Century's End and My Lover is a Woman: Contemporary Lesbian Love Poems. She has received a Pushcart nomination and an MFA in Poetry from Cornell University. She was a finalist in the New Issues Poetry Series for first poetry collections and her chapbook manuscript has twice been a finalist in national competitions. In 1999, she received a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship for poetry. She lives with her partner in south Minneapolis, where she is working on a new collection of poems and a degree in environmental education.