Small Hearts

When the front door opened
it was thunder in the western sky.
It was Kennedy on TV.
A man in Russia.

When we sat small beside his feet
it was cold air dropping
air raids crying
bodies face down
heads covered
with children’s hands.
It was bombers flying
monkey bars rusting
small hearts swelling.

When he paused to talk
to catch a breath
it was the old maple in our front yard
rooted and strong
before I was born.
It was the dark earth settling
under an Iowa field.

When we lifted our faces to hear his voice-
still children, still believing-
we were fresh green stalks
on farms just planted.
We were grasses
leaning eastward
toward a troubled sky.

When he moved across the world between us
he was a lost ship
on black water.
When he folded his arms
across his chest
trying to find a place to hang them
he was the Ferris wheel’s top swing
suspended in the night sky
without a star
barely lit against the fair below.
When we waited
he was the swing now rocking
my feet hanging
over his edge.

When he cleared his throat,
as he always did,
it was hot summer air
pressing upwards
swirling angrily
against a sky
of Canadian wind.

When he spoke
nine words froze
in the dry line
between earth and sky
between rise and fall.

I heard his words
but I will not speak them
when you ask me to.

When he left us
it was the iron hinge
on the warped barn door.
It was
one moment
depleted by the pull of time.

It couldn’t come true.
It couldn’t come true that
one day I know this
the next day I know that.


6 responses to “Small Hearts

  1. oh cindy! i didn’t know you were a poet… this resonates so strongly, i’m breathless. thank you. honoured to be your friend, vicki 🙂

    • Vicki, you are so sweet! Thank you! I’m honored you enjoyed my poem. I haven’t written for years, but am carving time out to get back into it. This is all just an experiment:-)

  2. Dear Cindy,
    I read this several times. It is so beautifully expressed, every word abundantly filled with powerful honesty and the “stuff” of life that is the core of every person, our human experience of living life with all its joys and sadness. You are indeed a sensitive soul. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. EdC

    • Hi Ed! I can’t believe I didn’t respond to this. I am so sorry. You are incredibly generous with your open heart– your kindness. I am touched by your words. I wrote this during a writing class at the U of Iowa this summer, though hadn’t really written a poem before. So I’m honored you liked it:-). Thank you!!

  3. Hello Jane,
    .I enjoyed this..Evocative and recalls those remarkable times which for me were spent near NYC.My college boyfriend lived a a few blocks from the Tate home and then moved next to Ann Margaret.He spoke of it often. I particularly relate to the recurring dream of your childhood home.I have had one for 20 years about my mother and mine,. I like your voice a lot.I hope you keep writing . I think I am about to start my blog..Still vacillating . I registered and then did nothing.I am writing just not blogging. I am a bit familiar with you from twitter.I am just on twitter a month.Have had some contact with Diane,Harrison, Sean etc. and some others you know.Now,I will read a bit more here.Thank you for this.
    opheliasings on twitter and soon wordpress
    P.S. Did you just start the blog last summer? Curious as many friends have had their blogs a very long time.Have you copyrighted everything?

    • Thank you for your comments, Patricia. Glad you enjoy my blog and look forward to chatting with you on Twitter too:-) I just started the blog & am figuring it out as I go along. I do need to write more often! I haven’t copyrighted anything– am still learning. Do bloggers copyright? How does that work?

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