Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Becoming light

August 29, 2013

By Amy K. Genova

This time I decide not to count laps but swim until tired.
It’s hard letting go: 2-4-6 …. The gnomon’s shadow slips
over the outdoor pool. Rings un-number themselves off
my hands, five fingers squeezed like paddles clapping

water. But, then, that’s counting: tic, tic, tic. Anxiety
and sun clock my shoulder rosy. Will I swim enough?
Refocus on drain. Its clog of leaves. Cracks. Rust curving
like algae down the pool belly. Red and blue lane dividers.

Perhaps, I’ll just count 400 IMs, neat lengths of 4x4s.
Would that be so bad? My sleek heart beat beat beats
without breath of comma in-betweens, despite symmetry—
left breath, no breath, right breath. Three beats. Under

my 90 degree elbow, freestyles the tree-glisten and sky.
One perfect hole in the clouds, God’s A-OK. No more counting,
flip-turning. Just a good shove off the side into this glass slipper
of warm shallow into cool deep.  A red-hatted lifeguard, perches

above my lane. Does he mark my stroke? Think I need saving?
Two swimmers come & go. Am I tired? Invisible?
Turning, honeysuckle tickles my nose. A cloud-bit of radio
races after me. A thousand white leaves wade in sun.

For a minute my father rises from water. Glasses speckled
with splash. My heart dolphins. Pop-static warbles, Yeah you
make me feel like ….

When the numbers end, this is light:

cirrus strands, a boy in red trunks, the perfume of weeds,
a Doppler of dad in the pool when I’m five … this uncountable tune.


What will happen when they stop building churches?

July 3, 2012

I visit my daughter in her life—2,000 miles away in a graduate school in Washington State. My daughter, beautiful, with her orange hair in braided knot. Making coffee, pleased that we liked her kabobs and witness her apartment with its rhythm of towels and spoons that belong only to her hands. She is here in her 400-dollar apartment with peach walls and sprung bed that leaves a crank in my neck. Pots of basil and thyme line her windows. Cans of beans stack her shelves. Banana, tangerines and plumbs in a bowl decorate her table. Hints of her childhood are all around us, the black and white Polaroid of my parents, a volume of Harry Potter, post-its from me stuck above her desk. After breakfast, we take a walk. The sky is achingly blue, not like Indiana sky pale as a last breath, or the diffuse yellow of St. Louis. The clouds radiate a reality of silver linings. Walking up the steep stairs of her university, my heart pounds. Makes me stop short. Pullman rises unspeakably beautiful, despite the town’s haphazard way. Sky, azure junipers and hills.

When my darling shows us her campus under a small arch, we joke about the St. Louis gateway. Walk up to a piece of modern art humming in the wind. Gaze out on the patchwork greens of Palouse Valley; a place I didn’t know existed until yesterday. Pass 4 graduate students giggling and vibrating together. 1 waves to my daughter, younger than a graduate student has a right to be. I don’t belong here, I have not walked behind these houses. I don’t know these people. Students belong to my past, and I am their past. The townspeople have strange garden flowers middling in their day lilies. On the way home, we walk past a church with turrets and a rose window. Some developers converted it to upscale apartments. There is a grill outside one of the steeple-shaped doors. My daughter is no longer my daughter. She is altogether a new religion.

Seventh Poem in Seven/Nine Days

February 28, 2012

Advil or Wine

My neck hurts from craning
over fireplace bricks.
I’ve been painting them wine
to hide old scars.
I opt for day old Zinfandal
with a broken cork in its bottle,
instead of ibuprofen.
Miss the wine glass when I pour
before even imbibing a sip.
Burgundy liquid stains my white
counters and cabinets. For lunch
beets stained my hands, and nestled
next to my omelet
filled with greens and caramelized

Sipping wine and writing,
wrapped in my maroon sweater,
I stumble into an epiphany
of red. Is it because moon slivers
have aligned themselves with Jupiter
and Venus? Or because you come home
and doze fitfully on our couch.
Arms folded against your blue
shirt. As if you could ward off dreams
troubled by starfish or cucumbers.
Perhaps, this day dipped in red letters
is a harbinger of Mars, declaring
war on the rest of our days.
Or a war trumpet
sounding to our old souls,
Life, while it is life, sounds red.

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