Driftwood My dad’s final days unfurl slowly, like an arthritic hand. I bend over him, study his face like a seashell. I watch the small nook in his neck tick each heartbeat. He waves me away. When he leaves, what will happen to my hands? I suppose they’ll become seagulls perched on a log on the Oregon coast where he searched for seashells with his siblings when all five had aged to white hair, white as the silver dollars they collected in plastic bags. I’m afraid my bird hands won’t know how to lift off from the driftwood and take air. Hunger, like a father, will push them to try their wings and scavenge a nibble of seaweed. They won’t go far from where they perched. Tangerine clouds will whisper the darkness is coming to fold your wings. While they sleep, waves will lap softly as a fringe of small bubbles takes the beach one handful of sand at a time.
Driving through Wheat Fields to Waitsburg “You, road, I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here, I believe that much unseen is also here.” —Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” It is October. No rain will fall from this blue platter sky. Gold wheat crops checker the landscape. A few harvested fields turn their blank faces towards me. Their mouths are full of dirt clods that won’t let them talk. The farther south I drive, the steeper the hills. They rise gradually, like grief, until I’m driving in a canyon with no horizon, buffalo grass lined up like soldiers on both sides. I’m heading for Waitsburg where I’ve never been. I don’t know the way and I’m out of cell range. No matter how far I drive, he won’t be there to greet me. Sometimes a friend must die before you realize he was a prophet. I pull into the dirt lot below the cemetery. The others have gathered on the hill, dark coats like a congregation of crows looking down at an empty gum wrapper. I join the family graveside. I know only my friend’s wife. We link arms until I stand and read Whitman to my friend who has become the breeze that carries the psalm I sing into the open hand of sky.
Love Poem to My Garden Blueberries I want to be a blueberry in my garden. I want to feel tender touches that test me and the firm tugs that cascade my ripe into a hungry hand. I want blueberry skin, wax-white then green then blushed by sun turning me purple without shame. I want green-fleshed muscle, dark with thirst. I want a name inspired by my spill from the red oracle of want. I want to stain birds warbling their fill. I want purple skin polished to silver memories of fed. I want to be a blueberry near sisters with hands that can touch them. I want to be a small fruit of longing because one large cluster of it would be too much to bear.
Connie Wasem Scott makes her home in Spokane, WA, where she teaches writing and literature at Spokane Falls Community College and spends as much time as she can enjoying the outdoors. She is the author of the chapbook, Predictable as Fire (Moonstone Press, 2021), and her first full collection, I Come to Know Thirst, will be released by Finishing Line Press in August 2022. Connie’s most recent poems have appeared or soon will in Cirque, Streetlight, Wild Roof, American Poetry Journal, and Raw Art Review.
“Driving through Wheat Fields to Waitsburg” was originally published in Night Music Journal.
All 3 poems will be in Connie’s full-length collection, The Open Hand of Sky, (August 2022, Finishing Line Press).