Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 4 • Winter 2002 • Featured Writer • Poetry

the sweetness

T. Cole Rachel

you must admit that you have known this, the gentle sway
of this closeness, the warmth of hand-holding, the occasional accidental
brush with unexpected goodness, the small dusting of kind words
that somehow cling to you

they have pooled around you, these moments
that you have skirted, brushed, sometimes
just barely seen, and if there is a shape
that could hold them, it might only be the sky
or the light angling across your face or maybe even these
yellowed letters pulled from an empty closet, containers
of a goodness that predates your life, the quiet
communications of the long dead

before all of those easters and sunday dinners
there is a sundress and a back porch full of fuzzy begonias
we are flickering outside the windows, unborn
and the letter is folded, held, placed carefully
in a box for us to find years later

dear sister
it's fall here again, and quiet. the trees
are all noisy and red. full of leaves
it's like when we were girls and lived
with aunt ida, and it's kind of lonesome here
with no people. how is it in town?
i miss your face. things are always so much better
when you are here

in this photo she looks sideways
at him, he stares into the camera
all white teeth and broad shoulders
and her smile is one you know, a look
that understands the fleeting honey
of that moment, the click of camera
her eyes, he is mine
you have known this, a swelling, a wave
of such toe-curling delight that only his hand in your own
her quiet breathing beside you at night, can tether you
to this world, can keep that goodness
from sweeping you away completely

and who hasn't held this light, carried it
in their hands, tasted of it
as our limbs tangle in the memory of some childhood street
when we are new and empty, knowing
that we are wanted, that we will know each other forever

in this photo he holds her in his arms, the waves
behind them are a threshold, an entry
to some joy we all hope to know, rushing up
to greet our bare feet

and this too you have known, the simple pleasure
that can only spring from the company of those
who've seen your face wet, your hair a disaster
your laughter too loud, your sobbing too quiet
it is a car moving through some faded summer
the tinkling of a radio, the sun on your neck
your fingers tasting the air outside the open window

and who hasn't, as a child, been driven
in a car late at night, curled in a backseat
as streetlights give way to dark, to starlight, to the moon
and then you are awake, with only the gentlest memory
of the sweetness that has brought you home

T. Cole Rachel

A native Oklahoman and former resident of Kansas, T. Cole Rachel now makes his home in New York City. His work has appeared in The Ontario Review, Visionaire, Westview and Illuminations. His first collection of poems, Surviving the Moment of Impact, was published in 2002 by Soft Skull Press.

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