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Two Poems by Helen Wickes

January Dazzle

What did we know then—clock ticking,
spilled salt, and that one faucet—
bitterly, bitterly. The heart stammering
something soft—little felt hammers

over taut strings. Then it was quiet,
remember, even the trees were quiet.
Jar of darkness outside tipped over,
out spilled the moon, whose intricate

mythology we no longer needed.
For the moment, assuming bliss exists
between rapture and exactitude,
remember to watch for it.

Church bells rang and white pigeons,
in a clamor wheeled through the ivy—
no catastrophe—whole city full of life,
so much life, the bright second blazing


April, Mid

The sun gone down, and April’s almost big moon
hanging in the dusky sky.

A few odd birds, newcomers, weekending here
with plaintive sounds, skitter the orange tree,
not finding what they want,

as other travelers do, complaining about fog,
about crummy soap in Milan, weird coffee in Philly.

The home front settling in, fat guy across the street
raises Chihuahuas, Sundays his pack set loose,
the neighborhood in a flurry.

Whole landscape, this very parched and dried-out spring
waiting for a miracle, failing that,
surviving. Wish I could
cut you some roses, let you
smell them; another lifetime, I’ll do that.

Tomorrow’s full blood moon, eclipsed,
middle of my night, may need to set an alarm,
be part of history, say I saw it, say I was pleased
to be alive, that it was such a sight to see.


about the author:

Helen Wickes has lived for many years in Oakland, California, where she worked for a long time as a psychotherapist. Four books of her poems have been published: In Search of Landscape, 2007, Dowser’s Apprentice, 2014, Moon Over Zabriskie, 2014, and World as You Left It, 2015.

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