A Chance Meeting / Look Both Ways

Sameness. Gentleness. Mostly.
Any old day. Plucked.
One hopes.
Once in motion, I feel it, a long time.
The waves lapping, still.
Such are the lessons of this life, it seems.
A pulpit. A meadow.
Vowels dark or bright make all the difference.
Youth goes on…
I mean to tell you,
next we meet.
Mid-July, the little beach waits her turn.

Not Nearly

The flicker of an old lie. There’s heat there yet.
I watch from nearby. Hidden where everyone can see.
A cat dies in the snow. A stray, maybe. I feel this a lot.
I didn’t insist on my way with you. Should I have?
It’s hard not to wonder what went wrong.
Point to the spot, I tell my students, all of us looking elsewhere.
I talk to my father, too, or try to, like he’s right here.

Ring a Bell

I was given silence so I could listen harder.
And tree-lined streets where I do my best work.
If you come, let’s not talk much, if we can help it.
I tell you so I won’t regret not telling you.
Prayer can be this, side by side.
Or even just holding a memory.
I remember how my mother patted my back gently to start.

MARY ANN SAMYN's most recent collections of poetry include Air, Light, Dust, Shadow, Distance (2017 42 Miles Press Prize) and My Life in Heaven (2012 FIELD Prize). She teaches in the MFA program at West Virginia University.