February 17, 2016

Leaving. {Poem}


Sacrifice and compromise are essential components to a lasting relationship, and a strong indicator of the level of commitment between two people.

This poem is an example of someone willing to leave behind their childhood home and their family and friends, boxing up old memories and moving across the country to be with the one they love.

Leaving these memories behind is a bittersweet experience, but made easier by the support of a lover who promises a better future together.


At 2:00 a.m. heat lightning
bares a clean row of teeth
that sink into blackberry sky,
its sweet darkness dripping
through your window sill like jelly
sliding down the edges of toast.

A flurry of fireflies crowd
the television screen, air filled
with night blooming jasmine.
You dream of old keys jangling
the locks of a Missouri home,
lawn manicured and stiff under
footballs and plastic kiddie pools;
your arms fill with moon.

April scattered flecks of mud
over the basement window,
brown smudges of sun casting
dimpled light on cardboard boxes
labeled with dates from your childhood.

1964: grade school report cards,
wrinkled mittens, a plastic baseball bat
and the yellowed photograph you’d forgotten.
Elizabeth, adopted mother standing
by a thin Christmas tree,
last smile for the camera.
The memory is here like a mushroom
popping up after spring rains—
her jasmine hair fills the basement,
now a blanket of moonlight.

Coffee clouds our porous mugs
Missouri 800 miles behind
rain patters tiny feet
on the drum of our roof.
Grey thread of morning mends
a torn sky drifting North
our fingers meet across the distance
of old voices boxed for storage.

Your face, clear as the moon
unwinds a smile
leaving orchids in my hand.


Author: Marcia Kester Doyle

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Guillaume/Unsplash // Chris Lawton/Unsplash


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