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Harry E. Northup: Four Poems

Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

To Ask for Love

The orange trees are 20 feet away
It’s the last day of April
In two days my wife would have been 82

It’s been 10 months since she died
Her body was orange blossom scent
Her poetry waterfall & baseball
Our mouths spoke bodies

Violets & earrings
Baths I helped her into
Roses & chrysanthemums
In the night of darkness
She found me

Up the stairs to a large bathroom
A burgundy sofa
Beads to the bedroom
Our bodies naked in the afternoon

She brought slices of cheese
Thick ones of bread, white wine
To lie naked in the breeze
Our bodies never ended meeting

We sang in a quiet home
No one touched our walls

4  30  20

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One year ago tomorrow

One year ago tomorrow I drove
my wife Holly to ER, West Hills Hospital
She never returned home
I was with her day & night
She died six days later

Small green stems several inches high
are growing around & below
thirteen orange trees
in front of several full-bloomed jacarandas

Sometimes I say I can’t go on
without my wife
Shadows lengthen & birds fly
She saw me for who I was

My hands hold her naked hips
I rest my head on her breast
Kiss her neck & shoulder
Caresses like jacaranda blossoms
in the breeze
The shadows almost touch each other

6  7  2020

*

Her Body

Death has a new lover
I never wanted to share
Holly with anyone but Dylan
My son who loved her
Whom she loved

Her  body for me only
No men no women no doctors
Her breasts, neck, hair, shoulders
She resurrected me

I get so fucking lonely
Without her
Her body next to me in bed
Beside me in the car, movie

We shared our poetry
I bought fresh halibut, swordfish,
She cooked, made salads
“Her poems are like her salads”
(Depth, layers, many ingredients,
Tasty, nourishing, fresh)

Death took her
She lives in fresh water, moonlight,
Magnolia blossoms, Eastern lilacs —
They have a nice fragrance

6  30  20

*

Far From the Center of Competition

A small burnished red leaf falls on my wrist
I cup it in my hand as I did her hand
There’s a beauty in its fall & land

Even the varied, lighter colors along its center
With lines radiating upwards
Give me hope & comfort

In its texture & touch of nature
On the outskirts of a city
How long can I hold a leaf so full
Of life though no longer connected

I place it on words in my shadow
Emotions evoked without its body
Without my holding
Such is love in a retirement home

12  2  2020

All the poems are from Harry E. Northup’s book LOVE’S ELEGIES

Photo credit: Alexis Rhone Fancher

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