“Valentine”

The mail has come, as I was thinking of you

I was wondering about the man that delivered your letter

 

when the dogs barked, I didn’t think anything of it

was his day suddenly made inexplicably better

 

but I meant to say earlier that I didn’t miss it

when your letter fell into his bag 

 

when you said I should watch for the mail,

perhaps his shoulders suddenly happy and relaxed 

 

only I didn’t know quite what you meant

and the dog down the street didn’t jump the fence 

 

I just held onto it, slipped it into my pocket carefully.  Now

I bet his wife suddenly called and said something kind

 

I have a sweet mouth that is a little on fire –

the rain held off and he could even turn off the heat 

 

it must be all the way up into my eyes as I write this.

because it warmed up more than predicted.

 

Chocolate, chilies, cherries.  I can hardly write.

Now his feet don’t hurt and he’s even humming a tune

 

But if I could get to you right now, if I could get to you,

he hasn’t thought of in years- probably jazz– 

 

I would surely kiss you all the way to next week,

and he hums and smiles and maybe whistles, too

 

until your lips were raw, ‘til you begged me to stop

even when he turns the corner

 

to let you breathe, to let you eat, or speak

he keeps smiling, his heart light

 

and you will taste like chocolate and chilies and cherries, too

all the way, all the way, all the way home.  

 

***

First published in Pine Song. Winner of first place for the 2016 Thomas H. McDill Award, judged by James McKean, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

***

 

 

 

“At the End” wins Honorary Mention in the 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition

I am thrilled to share with you that my poem, “At the End,” won Honorary Mention in the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, from the North Carolina Writers’ Network.  This year’s judge was Jillian Weise.

At the End was first published in the beautiful poetry & art journal, One, from Jacar Press. I would be honored if you clicked the link to read it there.

I am humbled to find myself in the company of the esteemed winning poets:

Alan Michael Parker of Davidson is the winner of the 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for his poem, “Lights Out in the Chinese Restaurant.”  Parker has won the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition two years in a row. Maureen Sherbondy of Raleigh was named First Runner Up for her poem “After the Funeral.”  Kathryn Kirkpatrick also received Honorable Mention, for her poem, “Visitation.” Sherbondy also received an honorable mention in 2011.