Girls with Gardenias

A poem by Kristin Roedell

I think some of you
would haveĀ  been musical
like my brother;
rhythm travels the pulsing red highways
and encrypts itself in clustered cells.
You may have felt him play the pipes;
it filled my veins with immense
like a midsummer beehive.

I’ve imagined you as tall grey-eyed
young men on a cabin porch
where I sit in a straight backed chair, squirrel
rifle over my knees
and the eyes of Katie Elder,
but in dreams you are
girls with corsages of gardenias
tied with ribbon to wrists
white and curved as handles
of china teacups.

When the night is still,
you have your own rhythm.
I cannot find an end to your voices,
and this is the source of the thrumming now.

Should I plant trees,
so that a hundred years from now
what nearly existed
will dwarf what I did birth?
Should I lay out white stones
on a hilltop where the mist
and the moss lie down like lovers,
allowed to keep what they make?

I hope to find you,

but mostly I try to forget:
every cool touch I cannot lay on your brow,
every peppermint sticky hand
I cannot hold.
Kristin Roedell graduated from Whitman College (B.A. English 1984) and the University of Washington Law School (J.D. 1987). She practiced law in Kitsap County Washington, and is now retired. Her poetry has appeared in Switched on Gutenberg, Ginosko, Flutter, Damselflypress, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Eclectica, Quill and Parchment (featured poet January 2010) Open Minds Quarterly, Breath and Shadow, Ekphrasis, and Four and Twenty. Other poems will appear in Chest, City Arts, Soundings Review, and Pilgrimage. Her chapbook Seeing in the Dark was published in 2009 by Tomato Can Press. She is a member of Poets and Writers Association, and the co-editor of “Cradle Songs: An Anthology on Motherhood“, forthcoming from Quill and Parchment Press, Winter 2010.

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