I am a transplant from Philadelphia, PA and retired college educator who has become part of the thriving poetry community of Southern California, which includes some of our fellow VVers. I keep myself busy writing, doing open mics and other readings as often as possible, practicing yoga, and enjoying the gorgeous climate in this area.
Trick or Treat
All summer we kids would plan
as our mothers stitched and stapled
in preparation for this day in late
October, when the moon burned
orange as maples and the air
turned cool. My mother only hoped
I might accept at last her bows and baubles.
Rather than princesses or gypsies,
I preferred the bizarre
and the original—a light bulb,
or a pencil capped with pink eraser,
a praying mantis or a fly. But this year,
at eleven, I agreed to let her
dress me as a black cat,
silky ears and whiskers
perched on a black hairband,
slinky leotard and tail
that brushed the ground.
My figure was quite precocious.
Most days, I hid beneath loose blouses,
At last, I let her show me off.
Pins in her teeth, she smiled, and made me
twirl before the mirror, handed me
my coat and flashlight, shopping bag.
They gawked, adults and kids alike,
as I stepped up to each lighted threshold,
bag extended to receive handfuls
of Clark bars, Mary Janes, Nik L Nips,
and Necco Wafers, wax lips
and candy necklaces, Pez charms,
enticing Licorice All-Sorts.
Finally, one woman on a distant block
stepped sternly to the door,
declared me an embarrassment.
Too old for trick or treat.
“Get a bra!” she said,
shadow cowboys blurring
as I fled.
First published in Silver Birch Press
Here it is, October,
and the sun slips
between two hills
like a worn coin
between the tracks
hoping to raise a spark.
The sky squats
on its haunches
sipping a cup of cloud.
Lights blazing on a
black, black ground
Limited steams in.
Here it is, October:
the strength to last
This poem appeared in my first book, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014)
What would it be like
pocketing this early fall sunlight,
to empty it by the bucketful
into a winter sky,
white as the frozen ground?
Or to save every elegant blossom
on the orchid’s now-bare stalk,
to re-attach it, as though
it had never fallen?
If I could shape the world,
so full of sadness and loss,
alphabetize its confusion
until it resolved to sense,
then I could say
I had made a difference.
First published on The Painted Bride’s website
©2016 Robbi Nester
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