Friday, July 31, 2015

by Sarah Kay



"PAWS" 

The third time your plane is delayed,
your voice on the phone has melted to a whimper.

I don’t know when we’ll take off,
you say. I’m going back to the desk to ask.
All day, you have been sending me text messages
of puppy love. I can’t wait to kiss you.

I miss the nook of your neck. How strange,
that when you are away, I reach for my

cell phone’s buzz as if it were your hand.
Each shiver in my pocket, a way to find you.

I will see you soon, Love, this morning’s text promised.
And yet now it is night, and you are still lost

in an airport somewhere in Florida, and I am still here,
trying to comfort you through this phone.
I’m okay, you promise. I just wish I was home.
You sigh into the speaker. The static crackles.
In November, a doctor put your dog to sleep.
You didn’t tell me it had happened for the whole day,

because you didn’t want me to worry or be upset.
I didn’t find out until your parents told me, and I reached

for your hand, not knowing what else to do.
I have never had a pet, I do not know this kind of loss.
The quiet of our kitchen does not sound empty to me,
I cannot hear the missing padding of paws on tiles,

the missing pant and rumble of her belly. But the first few times
you came home that week, I did see the way you opened

the front door: the extra moment you waited, the way
your shoulders sank. She was old, you told me.
She din’t get around like she used to. She didn’t
even jumped up when people came in, didn’t run to

bark and greet me at the door. But she was here.
At least I knew she would be here when I got home.
Recently, there have been more airports for the both
of us. Different suitcases and baggage claims, different

time zones and phone calls. My friends roll their eyes
at me when we are out to coffee, and I keep jumping

for my phone. We know, they say. You “have to take
this.” I apologize, excuse myself, check to see that
you are there. Nobody else notices how naked my
hands look. Nobody else thinks the space between

my chin and shoulder seems oddly empty. But I know
what this should feel like. I know what is missing.
At least the buzz of my cell phone fills the quiet.
For now, it will have to do. Until it can be replaced

by the sound of your padding feet and heavy breath,
by the sight of you in the doorway, exhausted and worn,

but finally, finally home.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

by Alice Walker

It is true--
I've always loved
the daring
ones
Like the black young
man
Who tried
to crash
All barriers
at once,
wanted to
swim
At a white
beach (in Alabama)
Nude.