Two Poems by Sarah Wells
We are two limbs of tangled driftwood – spin
and stumble through the narrow rivers, twist
in faster currents, drown in driven mists
of falling water. Rocks are closer, lichened
river sandstone, loosened, stumbles free.
How do I not break you, our throes violent,
austere? Commingled boughs are bent –
I could snap in half, take part of you with me.
But water makes us softer – we are blending,
a blur of bark and heartwood, older, harder –
our sharper edges smoothed, severe refining.
Even pebbles once were upstream boulders.
The knotted whorl left over in the widening
estuary rests holy, polished, pure.
Being a Marigold
Being a marigold, I should flower long,
but blossoms dwindle, shiver back to bud-
shape over and over. I am willful, strong –
I arch my back and stretch my roots in mud,
the sweat of summer does not make me weep.
Spider mites and spittle bugs consume
my orange and golden plumes; my lifeblood seeps –
it’s so much harder than I thought to bloom.
In fall I tan, turn stiff and brittle; sisters
with their plantlets wonder, pity, will
I never loose my seeds, children scattered
beneath me? I am weary, tired, kill
the time by counting all the fallen splinters
of my flowers, like prayers, scattered into winter.