by Danusha V. Goska
Walking south rapidly on Alameda
avenue of rainbow windsocks and money
enjoying the sweep of the lawns and the houses
I walk to my cheap and noisy apartment
commuting on foot like any peasant.
Like a leopard’s pelt in a swift running river
my body’s a palette, recipient of light shifts
shadows and chill that weren’t here yesterday
when the sun was high at this very same time.
Flanking the avenue, sycamores, like poodles
clipped to survive Berkeley’s stingy dry summers
are shedding new east-leaning shadows upon me.
Undulant splotches swing with my arms.
And suddenly my mood, and the day, are quite different;
suddenly burrow like Persephone or turnips.
Nothing is flippant; three ivy leaves, scarlet;
I’m smelling the mothballs and planning Thanksgiving.
This light is so rich, I must savor, not squander it.
Rescue, a post card, this gold street I scoff at.
My body’s a calendar; the earth charts turns on it.
Winter is stalking this hot August street.
I’m ready to learn to obey winter’s dictates
turn to roots, eat amber fruits, baking and buttering
steaming on silver, studded with spice;
to view naked limbs claw like seasonal hunger
networks of twigs raking brief pewter light
as teachers of clarity, gratitude, and vigor.
When the year has sunk to its cold, dark aphelion
like icicles serrating down from the gables
it snaps, turns back, swings round into spring.
Sometimes I feel young just cause I’m alive, still.
And this street, goddammit, reminds me of someone
who on solstice wore black and a bright cloud
of white hair and spoke of a bitter disdain for winter
though he looked the God of it, I swear.
I wanted to take him into my home, then,
glowing with candles, red velvet, and soup,
and feed him some pumpkin, some cloves, some cinnamon
and tell him old stories and buck him up.
I wanted to make him a lover of winter
which never happened you know, these things go with the seasons
and the houses one lives in,
and how one commutes.
Walking south rapidly on Alameda
to my cheap bright apartment, hot from the sun.
Danusha V. Goska is a teacher and writer living in New Jersey.
Her work has appeared in anthologies including The Impossible
Will Take a Little While, as well as magazines such as
Sojourners, The Sun, and The Journal of Popular Culture.
Goska has won the New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant,
the Eva Kagan Kans Award, the Polish American Historical
Association’s Halecki Award, and others. She holds an MA
from The University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from
Indiana University Bloomington. Her new book, Save Send
Delete, tells the true story of Goska’s online relationship—which
began as a debate about God and morphed into a love affair—
with a celebrity atheist.
On “Walking South”:
Most of my life I have been poor and I have not owned a car.
I walk everywhere. Though I envy those who can go on
weekend getaways to natural spots, I register nature on the
shoulders of highways: deer, flowers, turkeys, and the first
changing leaves. Affected by them, I note light and
temperature changes each day. I was a grad student at
UC Berkeley. Berkeley resident Sandy McReynolds is the
man with the white hair. In the poem winter is winter, but it
is also poverty, disappointment, and need. They have taught
me, and I strive to share their lessons with others.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 8, Number 2
Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors