After retiring from 22 years at Ripon College, I have moved to the Berkshires with my husband and two spaniels. While I miss my students, colleagues, prairie walks, and skies filled with sandhill cranes, I am nourished by the beauty of the mountains every time I walk up the road or take a drive. Co-editor (with David Graham) of After Confession: Poetry as Autobiography (Graywolf), my most recent publications include Cooking With The Muse (Tupelo), SoFloPoJo, One, and Crab Orchard Review.
The Many Lives Of Foam
I will come back as a fleck of cappuccino,
a caffeined speck of milky froth, a white
mustache on my future lover’s upper
lip which someone will point out
and he will lick off with the tip of his
tongue from within his concealed smile.
I will come back as the chilly
sprawling hem of the sea you
will lift your own skirt or roll up
your trousers to meet and step into
just for the thrill of it, my frilly
designs erasing your bare feet.
I will return as emulsion, sweet
or savory, fine or coarse, steeped
in culinary history, full of myself,
oh modern “airs, ” I’ll lull my chef
with mousse, soufflé, meringue,
venerable as heads on stout.
When I appear in a fountain,
fish tank, Koi pond, spring fed
lake, and everyone calls me
scum, I’ll be having a bad day,
lapping the shore, slap in the face,
dreaming of rock steps, waterfalls.
Aqueous chemical sometimes confused
as snow, I’ve deiced your wings before
takeoff in flurries, but also existed equally
expansive, buoyant, flame suppressive,
cushioned your crashing jet’s underbelly
with my rigid carpet on the runway.
I’ve signified thirsty, rabid, insane
when a too tame fox reappears
in your orchard, a raccoon ransacks
your basement, a coyote or skunk
crosses your path with its toothy
champagne and drunken gait.
I will regroup as spit in the mouth
of a boy (in a group of other boys)
who’ve all been sloshing their saliva
ready to hit the ultimate birch-bark high
target, an obsolete couple whose feathered
arrow and flying heart still surrounds them.
I have lived as lather on your father’s face,
steamy scent of Sunday mornings, eucalyptus
lingering on your own clownish chin, whiskerless
girl-child all pride and power after he removes
the blade, hands you an empty silver razor
to carefully mime him in the shaving mirror.
I will rise quietly among my own kind
when a girl dips her wand in a bottle of
soap & glycerin, follows my path, pleased
with my form, tries to catch me, “longevity”
not yet part of her vocabulary, watches each
spherical transparency pop, each roving rainbow.
© 2018 Kate Sontag
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