Poem in Which Time Is
Portrayed as an Old Woman
by David Cazden

Cradling a decanter—
cut sapphire crystal—

my grandmother would pour sherry,
rosining my vocal cords.

She’d paint calamine
like milk across red welts

of poison sumac on my skin.
I was twelve and out of school

when Jazz would drop
on the console stereo

and the needle fell into the groove
summer nights.

Music jingled through the hall
as I lay in bed

and hands slid down my neck
like fingers on the banisters.

Now when I walk
on floral carpets,

past fleur-de-lis covered walls,
I find that hugging her

is like grasping a vase of lilacs,
stems thin and brittle,

that we’re teetering on the rim
of an old L.P.  And all I hear

is the warning groove
at record’s end

ticking off and on
like steady breathing

as if she’s asking to be turned
to the other side.

by David Cazden

On this longest day
the sky swells
like a peach, bursting
in the middle with sun.

I watch you work in the yard,
your waist folded
like earth’s line of balance,
tipping in orbit.

All afternoon, jays
roll ball bearings of song
over the rooflines.
Our border collie’s spring shorn fur

blows in whitecaps into the grass.
The holly shadows stoop
in the twilight by the hips
of the sugar maples, falling

on the steps,
the plastic pots and the trowel.
When you come in,
dirty and sweaty from working,

everything is the color
of the soil-stained knees of your jeans,
indistinct, smudged as the day.
You emerge from the shower,

climb into bed,
and the night, finally unpinned,
swims into view,
like your long, dark, shining hair.

by David Cazden

No one heard a thing,
no alarm like a foghorn
or sound of a tree breaking
when my brother’s craft hit land.

His cheek crushed the carpet
leaving a seeping stain,
a dent where the prow of his chin
met ground.

Perhaps birds on the beach cowered
or a lizard ran off a log
in the photographed ocean scene
above the soapstone bathroom tile.

Yet on the day after
he O.D.’d, all that I held
was what the officers gave me:
wallet, shiny keys, finger-darkened coins.

So I gathered
up carpet, threw away pills,
erased the answering machine.
Last thing I left was a “For Sale” sign

swimming over the yard.
Stepping into the car,
I dug oars into concrete
heading toward a far shore—

Around the next corner
of the following day,
over waves and storm-smoothed stones,
where I secretly thought: he will be waiting.


David Cazden is Poetry Editor of Miller’s Pond magazine, print edition.  
He has one full-length book of poems,
Moving Picture (Word Press,
2005), and work recently published in
The Comstock Review and
Tipton Poetry Journal.  He will be one of the featured authors at this
Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee.  

On “Poem in Which Time Is Portrayed as an Old Woman,” “Solstice,”
and “Voyage”:    
These three pieces are written about people who are or were close
to me, in life or beyond.  Brother, grandmother, wife.  They mix fact
with other fact, as I believe a poem ought to try to tell the truth as
uncovered by the author in the poem.  As in much of my work,
images of nature seep in and attempt to be more than themselves.  
The sea, twilight, summer’s onslaught.  Such things for me are tied
to a mood and an emotion and a particular time.  I’ve worked on
these poems for months if not years, and I hope they are enjoyable
to read.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.