Two Poems by Maria Theresa Maggi from Gumption Issue 2

May 24, 2007

Before the Stars

I have come to the end of the road.
The long shadows cut the soft dust
with their sharp, dark arms, and the light falls.
The blinding layers of brilliant day
have fallen away, one by one.  Only the deep
gold lingers, which, soon, will also be gone,
turned away from night’s blue home
raising itself slowly, in silence,
to draw each shadow in and close
the indigo doors.  Then just stars.

But now, at this moment, the door
is still open, and the end of the road
reaches out across the dark arms
cutting, inviting me to its tangle
of wild grasses back lit in the reflection,
the gold air.  The land drops down
beyond.  Yet I could sit there,
no more traveling, in stillness,
at the open, green mouth of a new world.
No road.  Just the murmurs of water
far below.  The breeze that blows out
the last threads of sun would tangle my hair,
the tall grasses.  I could sit there.  I could wait,
breathing in and out before the stars.

 Yard Work

Every year is different.
Every year I’m different.
In the magazine about my disease
they say to build the beds high
so the gardener can wheel her chair
and sit to plant.  But this year I can still favor
the ground, even if it’s a long way up.
I leave lots of room for moving to stand
and laying down between the beds
my friends have dug for me.
I stretch out next to the new kale, the beets,
and watch the clouds float.  Sometimes
if I drift toward sleep, the gloves emptied
onto my stomach, the dog might come to
sniff my hair or lick my upturned face.
The bees simmer in the berry blossoms
along the fence.  There is no time,
only the body loosening its wrenches
and knots a little in the slow lilt of the earth
breathing.  There is nothing else quite like it,
no pill or therapy or treatment
can match this forgetting.

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