Ode to a Lost Lover
Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I
am sick with love. Oh that his left hand were under my
head, that his right hand embraced me!
Song of Solomon 2:4-5
No Guinevere to hide with the Sisters,
I memorized the verses in high school
Love letters from the book of God.
Windsongs sweep through
the backyard pines, bring thoughts of you.
How many nights did we have after deciding
to go where our minds were already?
Your laugh still caresses my dreams.
Thunder crashes outside;
Thor calling his lost lover, too.
Two peaches going soft, our taste is much sweeter now,
but the days shrink.
Our move through that Valley’s shadow draws closer.
Perhaps you will come to me one more time,
cradle my head in your arms,
before they fold one cold hand onto the other,
lay the last pennies over our eyes.
My aunt jigsawed herself together
from pieces culled over a lifetime;
her childrens’ old clothes,
six trunkfuls of beaded gowns,
three decades of newspapers,
quilts and dishes,
yellowed love letters written in French.
When crossed, she beat my cousins
and, once, shredded the wallpaper
with her nails, pieces drifting
like tears to the dusty floor.
Oddly, her long tapered fingers
that slapped, beat and fluttered endlessly
over hoarded treasures by day still could resurrect
Mozart, in all his ghostly beauty,
from her piano at night.
Before my cousins succumbed
to their own psychotic breaks,
music swirled through the darkened rooms,
soothing the burdened house and mesmerizing
us all until bellies unknotted.
The poems of Pris Campbell have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including PoetsArtists, Rusty Truck, Bicycle Review, Chiron Review, and Outlaw Poetry Network. The Small Press has published eight collections of her poetry and Clemson University Press a collaboration with Scott Owens. When The Wolves Come After You, with Michael Parker, from Goss Publications and Squalls on the Horizon, a book of tanka, from Nixes Mate and My Southern Childhood are her most recent small press books. A former Clinical Psychologist, sailor and bicyclist until sidelined by ME/CFS in 1990, she makes her home in the Greater West Palm Beach, Florida, with her husband.