Poetry slider — 20 January 2012

 

by

Ute Carson

Our thoughts drift away with the clouds
but we can pull them back down at will.
We can squirrel away our emotions in the unconscious
and when needed dig them up again.
But the thoughts and emotions of others often elude us.
They sift through the gaps in our understanding
like flour through the mesh of a sieve.

I huddle in my dead mother’s sweater,
her scent still clings to the fabric
but her presence forever evades me.
The touch of my lover is on my body,
but I wonder about his fantasies.
I am spellbound by my grandmother’s tales
of growing up in a castle,
and wish I could crawl into her skin
to experience her feelings beneath the words.
In his dreams my grandson gathers stones and sticks,
and a small frog hops onto his outstretched palm.
I cannot follow him to his nightly hideouts.

I become a witness to terrible pain,
hunger, loss and confinement.
I cannot stretch my sympathies
to go to those dark places
and feel what those sufferers endure.

I am like a spy,
my ears pressed against a wall.
I hear whispers and laughter,
I catch the word “Stop”
and think of lovers teasing, quarreling?
But when I locate the keyhole
and peek through it
I see two old men playing cards.

I gather snippets of facts, storylines,
and try to relate them to my own emotions
but all I end up with
are guesses, surmises.
How little will I ever know
of the mysteries of others.

Ute Carson’s stories and essays have appeared in the US and abroad. Her novel “Colt Tailing” (2004) was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Award for the Novel. “In Transit,” her second novel, was published in 2008 and a poetry collection “Just a Few Feathers,” in 2011. Visit her website.  Recently one of her poems garnered second place in the British Eleventh International Poetry Competition sponsored by FirstWriter. 

Photo courtesy of Wendell Ramsey.

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(3) Readers Comments

  1. Beautiful poem! Wouldn’t we all wish to crawl into a lost loved ones skin or peek into their inner thoughts through a keyhole?!

  2. Love this one. Just shared it on FB and it’s already been “liked” by friends.

  3. This goes even deeper than what my grandmother used to say,”I wish I were a fly on that wall.”

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