I grew up in Pennsylvania, just south of the Appalachian mountains. Our family often visited our Irish coal mining relatives in Schuylkill County. I earned an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin, and have remained in the Midwest ever since. I currently teach high school African and Asian Cultural Studies, and am an advisor to breakdancers and poets. I’m also involved with the Sheboygan chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change. A Pushcart Prize nominee, my poems have appeared Midwest Prairie Review, The Journal of Creative Geography, Gyroscope Review,and elsewhere. I just published a chapbook, Staring Through My Eyes, with Finishing Line Press.
Lost in Eden
“And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.”
From “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” by William Butler Yeats
It’s a lie about the fruit, Adam and
Eve driven out of the garden. I
watched Gilligan’s Island and, (shall
I say it), human beings have,
in fact, bolted from Eden from some
feared sensation of bored rootlessness. Peace
of any kind is not a priority, and there
lies the everlasting dang mystery, for
who wouldn’t choose Maryann’s pie? Peace
of palm trees and hammocks comes
to nothing if one is lost, dropping
out of memory, the drifting days so slow.
Love fled, and paced upon the mountains overhead,
and hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
From “When You Are Old,” by William Butler Yeats
I am ready for a slant love.
Exhausted even before my children fled,
I have clung to lost gestures and
the memory of blue dawn. I’ve paced
amid stock pots and pillows upon
pillows. I want a home now where the
fastidious man from the mountains
of Italy dons a button shirt overhead,
steps into the elevator and
carries a basket where he hid
ripe fruit under a checkered cloth. His
street shoes carefully laced, he turns to face
me in greeting. And the lady sitting amid
a slew of stamped puzzle pieces, a
half-formed heart, asks the small crowd
if we are ready to repent, but then, of
course, I’ve already forgiven half the stars.
©2017 Sylvia Cavanaugh
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