Summer 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Two Poems
   Christine Marshall

Thin Bruise of Violets

on the lawn. Green stubbles
the western mountains; the eastern

range still shivers, bare
and pale. The neighbor’s cat cries,
hides beneath the juniper bush

when I go to hold her.
The temperature warms,
cools, confusing

my old-fashioned furnace
that doesn’t know to self-adjust.
All evening I boil

new pots of tea, then someone
calls, reminds me to turn
up the heat. Up & down

the block, families
who didn’t close their shades
eat Easter dinner at their tables.

If I pressed my nose to
their windows would they ask
me in? Leaves,

slick with mud,
are blanketing new crocus

tips, new crocus tips
are poking through
the softening ground. They’ll
soon unfurl their springtime

banners, forked
purple & gold.

July, Two Decades Before Distance

Red poppies flush
the edges
of the photograph.

The girls in the center
watch, green
to who they are

on film: knees dirty,
braids unraveling lions’
manes, heads

their thoughts – but

looking in the album
now it’s clear:

what they don’t know:
how little they need know:

sun warming leaves, crickets
fiddling melodies

that won’t reach
memory. Past the moment

of the shutter-click
the girls will use the poppies,

petals redolent with Spring,
to trampoline. The sky

as they rise will grey.

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