Wednesday 20 April 2016

4 Poems by Marianne Szlyk

Willow at the Public Garden

The willow in winter stands tall,
intent on her audience,
the tourists on benches, the baby strollers,
the squirrels and pigeons,
and grass that is still green.
Like the grass, she promises spring
when others do not. 

In summer, she will still be striking
beside the other, plumper trees,
some that have bloomed,
others whose blooms we ignored.
But there will be too much to look at.
The tourists will be tired and seek
the fuller shade of an oak or maple
to watch the lines for ice cream.
They will shrink, then expand,
then shrink again,
waxing, then waning like the moon,
a heat mirage in a city
that sizzles at eighty degrees.
Through the summer and fall,
with patience and intuition,
never really weeping,
the willow will waits for her time
and her audience
to return.

The City in the Morning

Seen from above,
the traffic pulses like blood
through veins and arteries
that thread the city’s body. 

Trees and grass are lungs,
pulling in good air,
pushing out the bad. 

This morning the city sprawls,
heels touching the harbor
while a helicopter hovers
like a mosquito about to land. 

What I Found Among the Reeds on Shady Grove Road 

The reeds conceal
the wetland that remains.
Smooth stalks protect
algae, frogs, birds
and hide
the swallow of water.
The bus labors
through heat and humidity
from early morning to
past exhausted, orange dusk. 

When I walk,
the reeds reveal
a turtle, black nub
on a rain-slicked log
in water the color
of copper
left to the elements. 

The reeds reveal
the wet stench of life,
sour mud, honeysuckle,
sulfur mixed with exhaust,
grease, and perfume.
Birds chirp and pulse
above low traffic.
The bus is electric;
it runs silently today. 

Then I see
behind the reeds:
faded bottles and cans,
the torn,
black bag
in the water.

In The Third Year of the Drought 

Drapes across the windows
conceal the landscape outside:
the solitary trees, the metallic sky,
the scuffed hills that were once
pillows for a dead man’s dreams,
back when it rained all winter
and he was a young man
imagining himself old. 

Only the migrants are outside,
riding bicycles on the ash-black road
in the harsh sun and constant drought. 

Inside, a cat toys with cardboard,
imitating the sound of rain on branches
and leaves over the roof,
covering over the sounds
of the bicycles and the men’s Spanish:
trabajo, trabajo, borracho, trabajo. 


Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... and a professor of English at Montgomery College. In the fall of 2014, she published her first chapbook with Kind of a Hurricane Press: http:// barometricpressures.blogspot. com/2014/10/listening-to- electric-cambodia-looking.html. Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including one of Silver Birch Press’s contests, Long Exposure, Bottlec[r]ap, ken*again, Of/with, bird's thumb, Carcinogenic Poetry, Flutter Poetry Journal, and Black Poppy Review as well as Kind of a Hurricane Press' anthologies from Of Sun and Sand on. She hopes that you will consider sending work to The Song Is.... To explore this blog-zine, see http://thesongis.blogspot. com/ 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Marianne,

    What a pleasure seeing your poetry published in this wonderful journal too. As a talent writer, you grace many publications because you are not only a talented writer but a beautiful person too.