AT DUSK

Jennifer Burd

The mountains sigh each evening at dusk.
Their shadows fall hard for the plains at dusk. 

How often we want what we do not have.
In Camelot, the song goes, it only rains at dusk. 

What wants to be soothed, we soothe or soften.
In this matter, we often take pains at dusk. 

We set out the night’s candles one by one,
but it’s the flame of love that campaigns at dusk. 

In autumn, the hearth draws hearts close enough.
In spring, the sun’s ardor ordains at dusk. 

In summer, day blesses sweetly with birdsong.
In winter — the silent refrains at dusk. 

Modern devices can help guide the way.
But it’s the soul that finally explains at dusk. 

There’s more to life than poetry, she tells us.
And yet, the couplets and quatrains at dusk.

 

COME BACK

Waiting through Winter for Spring to come back?
Wait the way a lover yearns for another to come back. 

Someone is always precious to someone far away.
Arms long to open and close around those who come back. 

I can distract myself with useful things when alone.
And reading is fine, and writing too. Come back. 

Why bother with a lover, you might be tempted to say.
But here is one who will woo — come back! 

Smell, touch, listen, savor as if for the very first time. 
Life is an experience to which few come back. 

Days and moons dance into change, become new.
Every departure foretells union, a true come-back. 

Would you even want it to be the same river twice?
Jennifer invites you, “Please, do come back.”

 

EVERY YEAR

What do we want to have more every year?
Can we find an open door every year? 

We feel a heaviness, like winter, now lifted. 
And still the same coat I wore every year. 

Sleep — cheap talk — walks me home each night. 
I dream a different dance floor every year. 

Real rest refreshes from inside out.
This heart, these soles, still sore every year. 

The ocean so inviting, and sometimes unforgiving.
I keep strolling on the shore every year. 

Less is more, they say, what comes, what goes.
God only knows if I’ll be poor every year. 

Six degrees separate us, Jennifer says.
It’s the journey I still adore every year.

 

JENNIFER BURD has had poetry published in a variety of print and online journals, including Beloit Journal, Southern Poetry Review, and Modern Haiku, and she has work in the anthology The Way North (Wayne State University Press). Together with poet and musician Laszlo Slomovits, she has co-authored numerous poems and is at work on an adaptation of Patricia Polacco's book I Can Hear the Sun for children's theater. She is the author of a book of poems, Body and Echo, and a book of creative nonfiction, Daily Bread: A Portrait of Homeless Men & Women of Lenawee County, Michigan. She works as an editor and writer for HighScope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti, Michigan.