Hearts Held Close Come Tumbling, by Pamela Goode, c. 1995

Secrets

In copper coils my thoughts are bound
On blue-lined paper sheaths;
On onionskin, emotions fold
Their timid tongues beneath
Into a corner where the breath is warm
Enough to mist the eyes,
And tales uncurl
The silent girl
Laid prone upon the page
By her device.

Hearts Held Close Come Tumbling

Once upon a time, there were five alone here and there among the many. They came each from a place in someone’s heart held close in love. And when they were filled past overflowing with the love and ready to give purely, they were cut loose from the hearts that held them close and set tumbling on the wind to follow their spirits’ longing and give the love they had learned. They came each to a place where the bees sang and the clouds moved fast on whispers, and they were not alone. They joined hands now five together and set about making a home and learning to love on earth as purely as they had known love in the hearts held close. And the place they came together was called Beverly Drive.

The Little Blue Boat

When I was a girl,
my father gave me a little
blue boat.

It was deep and fully broad enough
to hold two laughing girls
with eight knees and elbows altogether.

There was a rope for towing
out on courses charted by our dreams
and pointing fingers,
or grabbing back
if any current dared to lead his girls astray.

We sat and bobbled,
my sister and I,
in pink puckered suits and salty hair,
in the bottom of the little blue boat,
our toes and fingers grazing on the waves,
alert for treasure
or a moment's cooling.

And my father pulled the boat
from wave to wave,
ocean to ocean,
sea to sea,
and dream to dream,
urging the bow in every direction on the sea and sky
while we squealed and giggled and pointed out
our pleasures.

And when he had shown us both the
way
to every corner
of the round and endless earth,

he dropped the line and waded in
to shore,

leaving us each
a
paddle.

Heaven

Sometimes I need to feel life touch
me hard
before I can think clear.
Even when what's inside is cool and
clean
and library quiet,
and the outside hangs heavy
with heat and sticky wetness.
The outside rubs me naked
with life until I open
wide.
Arrogant mosquito
kiss. Embrace
of a web. Sudden rain alarms and
illuminates
like a Zen master's swat
on the crown.        Aaahhh!
The fullness of what is real
easier to catch,
harder to deny,
than when you're cool and
powdered.

And so I sit on fire steps,
square in the path of crazed ants
with teeth.
Heat screams through denim until my flesh
beats red. I churn out salt.
Hot cat rubs me hotter;
her tongue sands my flesh to beg scratches
from a stranger,
and I respond.
Heaven.

My Mother Never Knew

My mother never knew love.
It was not her fault.
She could walk past love on every corner
Of every street (sweet and easy)
And never give a second look.
She had no craving for it.
Only for furs and glitter gold
Because in their cold touch
She knew for sure there was food
When the gnawing came.

Love is no match for food.

She gave me food,
Thinking it was all.
I had no hunger for it.
Food is no match for love.

She never knew love.

The Inside-Out of Knowing

What I didn't know about you went on
And on like beaches.
I thought the not knowing made a distance
Between us,
And I wanted to cross it.
I thought if I waited
You might let loose your story as willingly
As the mouth of a river.
I thought the knowing would connect us
And we would be easy together
Instead of strangers always afraid.
So I waited and you were a river willing.
And isn't it funny how each new tale
Is like a measure more slid easy
Into the gulf that separates us
More cleanly than I guessed.
You are a life I haven't lived.
You are days I haven't spent.
You are the fall and the snow and a healing sun
I never felt.
We are two lifetimes
Apart.      Here.
And there.
Now when I look into the rushing wetness
Laid out by compass points and charts,
I see the way your days and people and places
Fit into each other just so.
Easy. No space unfilled.
And I think I've learned the inside-out of knowing:
That the knowing makes a distance
Between us.

And if we had never met,
Would you be the same?