Single Poems by Lee Woodman

Orchid

 

The orchid is perfect,

climbing the stake, tall

and straight, it unfolds

and arches over,

with four bright blossoms

and pale green buds that

promise to grow.

Pink petals inside white,

golden tendrils inside pink

wave—tickling the air,

awaiting company.

I arch my back on

silken sheets.

His breath is slow,

there is only endless time.

Warm fingers travel

the arch, nuzzling over

creamy hill and

strawberry nipple,

trailing downward

to softening petals below.

What once was cool melts

with a promise of lush oil.

As stem meets blossom,

tendrils tremble and yield to

sweet pain.

*First published by Poets’ Choice Publishing 2020

Sorrow

Loud bumps outside my apartment window—
a common city pigeon returns repeatedly.

Twigs, straw, leaves take shape of a saucer,
dotted with downy feathers from her underbelly.

What’s to admire about this creature
compared to other birds? Plain. Dull.

Master craftswoman, she wedges the nest
close to the frame. A touch of iridescence

ripples slightly as she eases down
to incubate one egg. Arresting. Pretty.

Zealous mother keeps guard as juveniles
plunge and dive around wind currents.

Relieved when they leave at night, she settles,
cooing her low rumble. Window rattles.

Eighteenth day, knowing the squab may hatch,
she sets forth in the morning to feed herself.

Dignified. Regal. She will be strong,
she will protect, regardless.

The raucous adolescents cackle brashly,
loop and chase each other in the courtyard.

Careless wings slam the window, dislodge
the nest—-a steep fall.

Unknowing, she retraces her path to touch down.
Which window?  She makes repeated landings,

red claws clinging to the frame. Her head jerks,
bobbing. Broken choking coos.

A wracked beauty slumps against the pane.
Unforgettable.

The row of rogues, greyish pink throats,
sit silently on the adjacent roof, heads cocked.

* first published by Poets' Choice Publishing 2020

Blue Torso Lady

Long-legged creature, translucent blue torso, 
stands at the shore wondering

Sandpipers swoop forward peeping, skittering. Darting in lockstep, they make quick reverses, greedily dipping their long 
beaks for eggs

Beguiled, she scans the unending horizon, ears catching 
echoes of gulls forming V’s

She sways with acres of sapphire waves that dance the 
diagonal, turning to cobalt

A following wind blows whispers to whitecaps, she lifts her 
own shoulders high for a breath

The furl advances nearer, steeper ’til crests topple over,
crystals fly skyward

Blue torso lady breathes the sharp fragrance, salt droplets 
fall on her nose, lips, and eyelids

She lunges forward, dives into the whorl, she knows how to 
spiral, loop round the curl

Billows of breakers churn at the surface, creatures respond 
by circling below
Long-legged lady is whirling mid starlight,

swimming in concert with luminous squid. She’ll stay there 
forever, the breathing is easy. At depth she can swallow, 
she’s seahorse and brine

All at once the moon pulls and turns the sea calmer, waves
slide forth sidesaddle, sitting on time

Gently they spill frilly arcs up the beachfront,
large sprays of seaweed drop inkblots on shore

Destined, she is drawn to the coastline. Before long,
pulled from the water toward dunes

To-and-fro swash is chased by shore pipers,
low-flying birds cry out her name                                                    
Wisps of green hair swish around pebbles,
foamy blue bubbles roll over sand

Something has ended where it began—-
No one told her she came from the sea

*first published by Poets' Choice Publishing 2020

Reconsidering the Moon

We think you continue to change, but oceans know better.
Moon, you keep your same face towards us, a constant truth.

At new, we are close to each other, nocturnal animals
scamper to the shadows, badgers mate—

Your waxing crescent, a lemon slice, sneaks a peek,
waiting for the first quarter to test appearances.

At full, Australian corals release massive eggs and sperm,
doodlebugs make bigger traps for active prey.

You hide nothing, proud to show your bruises and welts.
Ungainly as you go gibbous, losing faith,

losing confidence, aware that the third quarter will
offer a stillness, time for stable reflection.

Waning crescent sweeps away all regrets, while lions attack
and kill. Scorpions grow blue in your moonlight.

*First published by Poets' Choice Publishing
Lee with Guests Eastern Market 2019
Lee at The Writer's Center
Lee Signing Books TWC 2020

All photos by Sonya Melescu

Single Poem Links

The Concord Monitor, End-Stopped, June 2019, about Donald Hall’s memorial
https://www.concordmonitor.com/Donald-Hall-end-stopped-25751059

Grey Sparrow Press, Road Trip to Nilokheri, 2018, Jaya the Ayah, 2019
https://grey-sparrow-press.com/lee-woodman-issue-31/
https://grey-sparrow-press.com/33-jaya-the-ayah-lee-woodman/

Vox Poetica, Sorrow, One Touched Me on the Shoulder, Reconsidering the Moon 2019. Toward Big Sur 2020
http://voxpoetica.com/toward-big-sur/
http://voxpoetica.com/reconsidering-the-moon/
http://voxpoetica.com/sorrow-2/
http://voxpoetica.com/one-touched-me-on-the-shoulder/

The Ekphrastic Review, Who’s Watching Whom, The Underside of Colour, They, Alien 2018-2020
https://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic-journal/they-alien-by-lee-woodman
https://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic-journal/whos-watching-whom-by-lee-woodman
https://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic-journal/the-underside-of-colour-by-lee-woodman

Zocalo Public Square, Learning the Twist in New Delhi/What it Means to be American, December 2015
https://www.whatitmeanstobeamerican.org/journeys/learning-the-twist-in-new-delhi/

Lee Woodman at The Writer’s Center Event on August 17, 2021.

Poems by Other Poets I Admire

Sign Up for News & Events

Want to know when Lee has new poetry or a book coming out? Join the mailing list!