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Susan Stenson : "I Write Poems for People"

I Write Poems for People

I write poems for people. Any occasion—Valentine's, birthday, anniversary, Christmas present, or just for the heck of it. Here are a couple of samples. I can also frame the poem and mail it to you. Check out my website for details:

A Poem for Dad, Grandpa, John, Tate, Tatums

June 2004

You died the way you lived, Dad: in
a quiet room alone, tucked neatly
in a comfy bed with the sky mostly stars.
If you had anything more to say,
you would have said it by now
or stapled a new sign on the wall
in the Common Room for all to see.

Love for you means making sure
the world is connected to your hands:
a round of golf, then clean the clubs,
burgers barbecued and browned
flipped into buttered buns,
sides of slaw, cups of coke.
You always found breakfast
somewhere on sale. Eggs over easy.

You’re not a flowers and chocolate
kind of guy though you understand
the inclination. Your romantic weekend
is fishing with Mom and Jimmy Hart
at Rice Lake and naturally, Mom catches
the pike, and we’ve got the photo
to prove it. But nobody beats you, Dad,

in the kitchen: you’ve got what it takes
to broil, bake, baste. Nothing fancy.
Cooking’s simply what you do, a
tradition passed from father to son
to grandson. Beet salad and corn,
a Taylor kind of meal, strawberries
and cream, a Taylor kind of day.

A Poem for Angie on her 40th Birthday

Some days the world seems small, like a dime
or a quarter, a small coin to fit inside a palm.
Other days, there are never enough hands
for all the mouths to feed, for all the babes.
And Angie, loves each one, each day, another
child’s born, another world to place in Angie’s
hands, like the angel she’s named for, angelus,
a messenger speaking a language only Angie
seems to understand, when the house is full,
the sink, full too, the old van not starting, and
nobody too eager to walk the dog. Angie. Forty,
and so are all her friends—they’ve blown out
200 candles this year, made their silent wishes
and held them quiet for that brief moment in
the pause after applause, before the lights go on,
as smoke rises and then disappears. Soon she
will turn the clocks back, as darkness settles in:
the garden, the pond, the leaves, mirage, mostly,
the kind of faith one needs to manage another
winter, survive five pair of boots lined or thrown
by the door, the shovel calling, the forest, calling
softly, too. Look for her there, after snow. The dog,
the children, running ahead, and Angie looking up
to glimpse the top of a maple tree, say, sees one snow
flake, a message maybe, a note to read later in bed,
with hot water bottle, and husband sleeping at her side,
while Angie smiles before she shuts off the lamp,
watches her wish rise in a sort of dare, finds its way
out through the skylight and only then does Angie sleep.

Susan Stenson's works copyright © to the author.

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