Two Poems by Marian Slattery

I Have Begun Reading the Obituaries

Yesterday I read of Ellen Ferguson,
survived by only grandchildren. Lucky Ellen,
plenty of life, not many left to grieve.

Just enough busy husbands and wives
to box up her letters,
the few pieces of porcelain she saved.

Chips and beer on her scarred dining table as they sorted
Some laughter remembering birthday parties
when she danced a jig from the highlands of her childhood,

A sorrowed pause
over a crayon scribbled Valentine to ‘Granny’
from a five year old who drowned the following summer in the lake.

A good Sunday afternoon, glad to be together.
They promise to see each other more often.

This is what I wish for my ending. Just a few whom I’ve loved
to clean out my desk, remember Easters in the garden,
find the pictures of me in my soccer uniform.

Someone to look through the binders
for my poems about persimmons.


The Red Farmhouse in Winter

What was it that was the chill
of something warm and cold,
a thrill of neurons
newly netted,
a foggy red house
on grey-blue tinged
foggy white snow,
an air of winter somewhere
as though through a window.
Where did he stand
sketch book in hand
the old man
in wool knitted cap and shawl
to capture the scene?
Surely there is more
than the process with paint on canvas.
Surely there is more
than objects on a landscape.
Surely there is metaphor,
So that Monet’s experience of the light
becomes our own.

Marian Slattery is a San Francisco Bay Area poet.

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