Umber

there are only so many poems one can write
about umber tree roots and the glowing moon
before the psyche starts crying out to be heard
the suffering of the world isn’t poetic
but it is essential to poetry

—Terri Guillemets

Veggie soup

peeling this sweet potato
i can smell the earth
i close my eyes and smile
then cry —

when did i get so removed
from the soil, the land
from simplicity —
the family garden
in grade school
my bare feet on warm dirt
i was so happy
there were carrots
and worms
and life
was carefree —

i finish making soup
do the chores
the day was busy
i am tired —
the nights
when there is time
enough leftover
to snuggle into bed
a little early & read
and i can keep
my eyes open
long enough for it —
this is heaven
simple, free, happy
heaven

—Terri Guillemets

Autumn’s clock

In the wheel of Earth’s years
we watch as Autumn’s clock

Tick-tocks in tiny goldenrod
September petal’d seconds

Frosty trees bleed scarlet hours
through veins of October leaves

Amber minutes wither and fall
drifting in November’s breeze

And the silent strike of midwinter
turns December’s snowflake gears

—Terri Guillemets

Weighed down

the scale now shows me
one hundred sixty-eight
but in those simple digits
I see rejection and pain
sugar, laziness, exhaustion
hormones splayed out of whack
menopause ready to rumble
plaque buildup and repressions
anxiety, regret, some depression
the past, the future, sheer panic
tension, disoriented expectations
ice cream, sweet junk addictions
griefs, hurts, disappointments
bad habits, cliffs, fear, falling
the eating of all my emotions
gluttony and gorging ghosts
turbulent raging blood glucose
sleepless nights, too-busy days
nerves, toxins, worry, age
unwelcome rapid-fire change
lack of trying, trying too hard
loss of control, culinary excesses
no longer fitting into my dresses

—Terri Guillemets

Night haze

The moon shines
into the dirty desert air
with a rusty opal halo —

Scorpius has lost his way
behind the thin clouds,
city glare, smoke, dust —

His heart shines in some far
better place — but not here
in this smoggy summer.

—Terri Guillemets

I accept you

Okay — I give in — I accept you — Middle Age
I am tired — I want to sit down — unrushed —
to read — and drink hot tea — and — Breathe
the number of years behind me — and ahead of me —
no longer concern me — mathematically or emotionally
I have come to rest in the sturdy arms of the Present —
where Time has been waiting for me — my whole Life

—Terri Guillemets

Burning

for love’s rewards we stick our necks out
vulnerability a’pulse, blissful anticipation —
and love kisses our risk and nuzzles our napes
but after a time — short or long or in between —
we lose our heads to his swift sharp guillotine
our foolish blind hearts beat on nonetheless
and carry a torch right up to the inquest

—Terri Guillemets