Driftwood, Driving through Wheat Fields to Waitsburg, Love Poem to My Garden Blueberries

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.

Website

“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).

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