Merry Descants


Yesterday and Two Days Back

Three days ago…
that’s yesterday and two days back
…wording is important…
she saw what seemed a painting
wrapped tightly in brown paper
there swaying in a hammock
in her summer yard.
The package jounced…she watched it
from her bedroom window…
as if someone had just bounded
from its swinging web.

Dire warnings scrawled across it
alarmed her from the start…
Proceed with caution.
 Don’t stray or you’ll be hexed.
This layer is day one.
Unwrap it with your fingers
for directions of day two.

Twine roughed her hands,
and pinked her fingertips;
the package was ungainly,
and wobbled in her grasp.

Its second layer— newspaper
birth, death, marriages…
was ribbon bound…blue satin.
Keep in your sight all day,
and beside you if you rest;
Untie instants before midnight.

It’s lunacy!
She shouted this at no one
for she lived alone…
her closest neighbor
down the road
was tractoring again.
She’d heard that same motor
for so many years.

She waited…until midnight
and spent a sleepless night,
for this was lap quilt with no tie.
It opened easily to fall away to mirror
and a card scrolled with instructions.
Close your bedroom curtains.
At sunrise…five o’clock…look out…
where he waited…tractor man
rocking in the hammock…
smiling back at her.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Emily Miller


Censor Gnome

Somewhere in my thinking
lives a censor gnome
who checks ideas
before I publish them…
its fault when poems escape
before they’re fully dressed…
its fault when thought slips out
before due diligence…
its fault when grammar suffers
ignored in some old text…
its fault if slight confounding
jangles someone’s brain–
no…not it’s fault…that last one,
for I’ll own such strategy,
warn caveat emptor,
and seek clemency.

Bonnie Marshall


If I Digress

Excuse me…please…if I digress
and speak to you in poem time
for I mean you this moment…
singular you…like no other you
where there is no awareness
…as I sometimes feel…
when I’ve stumbled into
familiar second person you…
like some voyeur at third remove
with a fourth wall broken open
into someone else’s life…
that private letter mind
where you isn’t me
and I’m caught…worrying
about a grieving poet
and I can’t even offer
a washed handkerchief…
and I’m caught…thinking
how personal and present
unless we’ve been introduced
and not thrown together
in a chance encounter…
voiceless strings of integers
in a complex timeline world.

Bonnie Marshall


4 thoughts on “Merry Descants

  1. where’s the triple-like button!   Three in a row (three in one, a true Trinity).   Each one differently but one-ly good.   I must say that reading good poetry takes much effort of wu wei, and I don’t often have either together, but skipping through these was like clean steel wheel on morning-bedded track – your poetry don’t half shift, Bonnie

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