Geri Rosenzweig: Three Poems
This Far Off | Leaving the Dishes | Shaking Salt on the Body of the Bluefish
This Far Off
I meant to draw a few lines, a shaky landscape of hills.
Glow of wildflowers in the distance carried me
away like a piece of paper in the breeze.
Black and white cows lifted their heads.
I hadn't meant to leave just as you
turned the page of your book,
then evening came and I forgot to turn back,
lost in mossy clefts, strangely happy in the wind.
I don't know how long I'll be here, in this far off
that speaks secretly of guitars and the sea.
Already nostalgia for the past rustles through me
like a webbed garden at twilight.
I think often of the ruffled curtains of home,
lamplight on your shoulder.
Bells ring faintly, as though
another world waits over the next ridge.
Except for smudges of ink on my fingers,
the dark has not yet come down.
Leaving the Dishes
She crossed a border of cool weeds.
Lights went down in small towns.
Behind her the landscape tightened,
rolled away like a ball of dark paper.
Once there was a place to rest,
a stone bench near the sound of water.
She kept moving, traveling
without shoes under a thin moon,
looking for lanterns flickering
in the distance, believing
in the sound of words whispered
in the white plaza of days
when she fed coins to bronze fountains.
Not once on the long journey
did she take the old road past
the bridge, the boat smoldering in the margins,
even when the sky lengthened
and deepened and the image
of the knife and fork lying in the sink faded
beneath starlight blowing like banners in the wind.
Shaking Salt on the Body of the Bluefish
It's been long since you called from the firelit
room of a dream, frost on your tweed jacket,
the black wing of your hair.
Listen, mother inhabits the white pleats,
the grass stains of memory,
the little twist of bitterness at her mouth
has vanished, her lips were red and full at the end.
Halfway through, I live in the country I ran away to
one November morning, I live among flowers of Sweet Everlasting.
Your American grandchildren raise children of their own
in the October light that is rising off the river,
swinging around the house until it rustles
like a sanctuary, goldfinches flash in cone flowers,
worry the brown seeds, the osprey balances
the kite of herself in radiant wind,
rusty gleams of blood in her eye.
Saint tree of the burning crown
tries once more to teach me
quiet ways of leaving the earth.
The way you left it.
Like props in a movie of fall afternoons
leaves are dismantled, as are the dazed fruits of the quince.
I think of your image of the end, a boat waiting
for us to step into it, the way we enter wind, adjusting
our wool scarves, but I'm still hungry
in the glow of evening lamps
and the body of the bluefish needs salt.
Geri Rosenzweig was born and grew up in Ireland. She worked as an RN in Ireland and London before coming to New York. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Verse, The Cape Rock, Nebraska Review, Greensboro Review, River City, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She has a book of poetry entitled, Under The Jasmine Moon, which was published by HMS press, and a chapbook entitled, Half The Story, which was published by March St. Press. She is a member of the Hudson Valley Writer's Center, where she has led poetry workshops.