Single Poems by Lee Woodman
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,
I arch my back on
His breath is slow,
there is only endless time.
Warm fingers travel
the arch, nuzzling over
creamy hill and
to softening petals below.
What once was cool melts
with a promise of lush oil.
As stem meets blossom,
tendrils tremble and yield to
*First published by Poets’ Choice Publishing 2020
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.
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
All photos by Sonya Melescu
Single Poem Links
The Concord Monitor, End-Stopped, June 2019, about Donald Hall’s memorial
Grey Sparrow Press, Road Trip to Nilokheri, 2018, Jaya the Ayah, 2019
Vox Poetica, Sorrow, One Touched Me on the Shoulder, Reconsidering the Moon 2019. Toward Big Sur 2020
The Ekphrastic Review, Who’s Watching Whom, The Underside of Colour, They, Alien 2018-2020
Zocalo Public Square, Learning the Twist in New Delhi/What it Means to be American, December 2015
Lee Woodman at The Writer’s Center Event on August 17, 2021.
Poems by Other Poets I Admire
“Forfeiting My Mystique” by Kaveh Akbar
“A Ball is For Throwing” by Adrienne Rich
“On the Seashore” by Rabindranath Tagore
“The Exhibition was Very Beautiful” by Sandra Beasley
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