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Fall/Winter 2017

Peter Sears


Our second date, it rains, so we have to
take the bus, which makes us late for the movie.
The movie is ”Fighting Lady”.  Sounds okay,
maybe about a brave woman fighting
to save her farm, her town.  “Fighting Lady”
is the story of a World War II aircraft carrier.
“Sorry,” I offer. “Shh,” she says. “Be quiet.”

When we come out, the rain has stopped. Trees drip.
Bushes drip. I put my cap on sideways and then
on her head and she skips along by me down Main.
We talk about getting dinner at the deli
and walk all the way to her house.
She swings us into the backyard and swings
my way. Moonlight comes through the trees,
picks up her hair, lights it up as if the moonlight
is some sort of current.That’s how I feel,
lit up from the inside.

We come together at eye level. She has always
been taller. I must have suddenly grown.
I don’t get it. I’m nervous. My lips have so much air
on them, they land on her cheek. I kiss her cheek.
The cheek is so soft it feels like it’s kissing me back.

Neither of us moves. I hold my breath.  I am not
going to move until she does
“Don’t forget to breathe,” she says.

She cruises her mouth around to my mouth.
We kiss, kiss until I can’t breathe.  We didn’t
see them in the movie try to breathe
when they kissed. I take a deep breath and kiss
her again, longer, softer. I float – as if on a swing
higher, higher, until my rear end lifts right up off
the seat. I’m in the air holding on to this world
with just my hands on the cold chains. When I
come down to earth, I feel big and edgy like a fiord.

She is standing in the doorway of her home.
Fear rises in me like standing on a huge fish.
She smiles and leans out of her front door,
kicks up one foot. This is our moment
--nobody has seen us, heard us. Nobody
can put us in a photo album. I look down
at moonlight striking her front path stones.
She says “Good night.” I do too – “Good night.”
I walk down her path. I could run home.
But I go slowly. I like going slowly,
like the moonlight is snow and I’m gliding
across on cross-country skis.

Peter Sears’ New & Selected Poems, entitled "Small Talk', came out from Lynx House Press in 2014. He was poet laureate of Oregon.



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