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Poems by Grace Cavalieri

Tiny Ants without Sorrow

Grace lives and writes in Annapolis, Maryland, by the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, which is coming back to life with new fish, new hope, new streams.
 
A string of tiny mites ,
thematic elements of nature,
climb the beach house wall.
What vibration causes them to stop, confer
with another line, then move on, we’ll never know.
Over and over like a prayer, they go.
These infinitesimal creatures, moving in unison, reach
another set of beings, freeze, then begin again. 
Protean intelligence with an elegant sense of balance,
—with sensibility unfailingly sure of its path—
They do not have wounds too deep for anger.
They do not need to elevate the struggle.
 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: CANARY
 

Can I Count on You

(for Ken 1930-2013)
 
If I were lying in a boat in a wedding gown would you see me floating by
If I named a star after you would you lie in the grass looking up
If I lived in a white house would you come sit on my front porch
If I were caught in a bad dream would you please wake me up
If I had a plaid blouse would you help me button it
If I could jitterbug would you do the double dip
If I were a red cardinal would you hold out a sunflower seed
If I caught all the fireflies in the world would you give me a big jar
If the night nurse forgets to come would you bring me a glass of water
If I had only minutes to look at the silky moon will you come get me

Awards Day

She always wanted to make love to a clock so she’d know when to stop.
She always wanted to be standing in the limelight in a white satin dress,
no, make that a strapless dress. Now she was older and, no, make that
one with sleeves. She wanted to be a cat hiding in a tree to catch a bird.

(acknowledgment: Poets&Artists, 2012)

Big Mama Thornton

Last time I saw her
she wasn’t so big. Actually
she was downright skinny,
singing the final time
in Washington, D.C.
 
Backstage she drank a
quart of milk
mixed equal parts with
gin—
Seagrams, she told me.
 
Then she got the idea.
Could I contact the Seagrams
people and then she could
advertise for them and
they’d like her for
drinking a full quart a day—their gin.
 
I said no, I didn’t
think so, and I didn’t
think the milk people
would like the commercial so much
either. She still felt bad
about Elvis stealing “Hound Dog,
The way he did, even though
she was much too much of a lady to say so.
Once she talked about it, long ago,
before she started milk with gin.
 
I guess the drink left a
sweet taste in her mouth.
 
-- Grace Cavalieri
Acknowledgement: Cuffed Frays, Argonne House Press
 

The Third Heart

The first heart is made of self,
A spirit you brought with you and
Stays after you leave.
The other heart is flesh and blood,
The person you always wanted to know.
But the heart l love best is where
The two meet, overlap,
Forming a tiny center.
A heartbeat that can be heard.
If you cannot listen, who will?
And if you can find safety,
Within these sounds,
There is nothing outside you will need.
 

Bluebirds

In the small grey hut of self-doubt where the ceilings are too low for you to stand,
by the road where your friend would only drive you half-way home,
next to the trench of holes filled with grief and wrong choices,
where it’s better not to know how you should do things a different way,
tulips droop from their vases,
and death has never had so many faces.
 
That’s the time to go out at dusk when even the deaf talk softly;
Don’t look at the hummingbird hovering
afraid of the bubbles rising in their nectar—
Bluebirds know of danger, their air made of smoke–
large wings of prey
never far distant—
Try to find the bluebirds in their church of air,
star seeds of sound that crystallize then burst.
 

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