Penelope Weiss

A Rescue Child

The first thing I remember is my mother close to me.
Her eyes are green in her pale face.

She tells me I am not hers but she will raise me.
I’m a rescue child, she tells me, but she loves me.

The next few years I play hopscotch,
statues, ring-a-levio, red rover. I read comic books.
I look at pictures.

My mother says love is a feeling, the feeling she has for me.
I see photos of wild horses in a field out West.

Is love the feeling I have for them?
Their tails are the brushes of heaven.
Their eyes are the lights of heaven.

I draw pictures of them, but I can’t get it right.
I want to go to this field and see for myself.
Maybe I will one day.

As Winter Approaches

Inside a house a child reads The Blue Book of Trees
and promises herself she will walk in the woods tomorrow.
She will stroke the tree trunks and caress the leaves.

In the next room an old player piano
coughs its discolored rhythm to the hiss of the wood fire.

The child’s father is there, too.
He will paint the trees tomorrow in the early morning light.

He sees them, like he sees everything,
through the lens of his gentle nihilism.

The rhythm of the player piano
haunts me in this northern wood, as winter approaches.

Two Doves, Six Crows, One Moon

It’s winter again.
Two mourning doves walk nearby.
Such calm, graceful shapes.

The next day, six crows
visit me, then fly away.
Wait, I say. What’s new?

The moon speaks to me
from behind the tall hemlock.
The wind steals his voice.

Is winter a friend
or an enemy in need?
I don’t know what’s true.

Vermont Melody

Reeds speak to the wind.
Their icy breath reminds me:
Winter had to come.

I wish I was a
bear, I said to my pillow.
I could hibernate.

Then, early in spring
I could knock down all the bird
feeders in Vermont.

Magnolias bloom
in a blue ceramic bowl.
Fever has broken.

Penelope Weiss grew up in New York City and now lives in Shrewsbury, Vermont. Storiana, her collection of stories, was published by Casa de Snapdragon Publishing and is available on Amazon.
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