PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Two Poems by Priscilla Atkins

After

All the days swept with gold,
and the rainy ones, too.
In Spain, the first lunch glass
of Albarino wine. And the last.
Little dim-lit bars where we’d buy coffee
so we could use the bathroom.
The platters of broiled lamb chops,
the sheep blocking the road.
The way a peasant woman
strapped a long rope around a cow
and took her for a walk. 
Or that’s what we surmised,
in a remote valley, where
the hundred year old shepherd
in a tweed jacket
wished us long and healthy lives.

All the paintings of Paris
in snow. The morning we got drunk
on croissants and café au lait
then walked miles up back streets,
where men unloaded lorries
of eggplants, cabbages, apples, steaming
rabbits, until we finally reached Père Lachaise.
The famous tragic names—
Chopin, Proust, Apollinaire.
And the unknown 1920’s watercolorist:
her dark, swept-up beauty captured
on a tomb’s oval inset.

In front of the rich people’s hotel
in Cozumel (where we snuck into
the lobby), squatting down
for a curious stone
and finding the velvet blue butterfly wing
that’s still tucked
in my tiny green notebook.
The ferry to Playa del Carmen,
the men with glorious mustaches and guitars.
Looking down the cliffs from the ruins
at Tulum, the blue-green-blue of ocean.
The boy who leaped, our eyes following
the slim arc of his brown body; the heat, the cold.

The vineyards and mountainsides,
the banisters in old hotels.
Blue bus exhaust, wild taxi rides ending
in possibility and departure—Tunisia,
Tokyo, Stockholm, Casablanca.
And coming home, the weight
of each suitcase. The jetlag,
the clean sheets, waking at 4am
to the new-old smells of home.
Ice clinking in your almond breakfast drink,
leaves steeping in my gold-trimmed china pot,
dim chatter of Van Gogh’s lights, his darks—

I name them all for you.

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About the author

Priscilla Atkins’s poetry has traveled to Poetry London and to The Dalhousie Review. Among other pretty homes for her work include Bayou, The Bellingham Review, Salmagundi, and Shenandoah.
She has been to Europe several times and to practically every state in the United States. Her most memorable trip was to Hawaii, where she stayed for ten years. Her current layover is in Holland, Michigan.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok