Two Poems by Tara Laskowski
I am thinking how the leaves fall
but I never see them until they are a gathered pool
at the base of a tree-
like the very second a waterfall
a moment we will never see until it is finished,
the once-lively ripples silenced, halted
in a frozen pose meant for winter’s camera.
We search for moments of transition,
classifying out lives like meticulous students,
highlighting significant memories
to make them less intimidating.
A skeleton of a dark roller coaster
finally exposed in the light
reduces its terrifying twists and turns
from an unknown beast
to make a structure of steel and bolts.
Perhaps what changes us forever
is a gradual process,
profound and unnoticeable
as the decay of a tree
or the rusting of a child’s forgotten bicycle
left exposed under the wooden deck,
until one day the emptiness is not as severe,
your voice a consuming symphony reduced to one note
played occasionally as mere sentiment
and I can smooth the bed covers with confident hands,
drift like snow into dream.
After the night I overdosed on poetry,
I woke from a dream in which words
ran through my hands, leaving salty paper cuts.
With throbbing fingers I stared up at the dark ceiling.
Where sticky, glow in the dark planets
had hours ago lost their light,
wishing I could write you a song.
Not a love song -
but one which you could sing on a rooftop
as the sun sets, skimming rooftops,
sucking a last drag from a cigarette.
On dark ceiling I played out the night
we confessed our mutual crushes
over glass of rum and coke,
wondering if there was a poem
in the way your damp fingertips
pressed against the small of my back,
and you breath tickled the hair behind my ear
as you asked me about my boyfriend,
77 miles away and sleeping under the same plastic sky -
one on which a faceless girl from a time before me
spelled out “I love you” with stars he’d never bothered to peel off.
The words, only symbols, always lose their shine,
that spontaneous, heartfelt gesture
now as crusted and brown as the melted stars -
meaningless and silly -
a song heard too many times.