The 2River View 18.4 (Summer 2014)

Sherry O’Keefe

Watercolors Need to Avoid Direct Sunlight

for N

It’s been so long since she knew blue
& how it spreads when dropped
where sky breaks into sea.

She writes. Says she forgets now
which hand to use when she paints.

Orange begonias need shade, too,
I reply. I slide them, in a pot,
beneath the spruce tree in my front yard.

Shadows deepen the shock of color,
is the last that she writes back.

Breakfast at the Owl Café

Life is the story of bodies that learned to contain the sea.
William Bryant Logan

He’ll come down from the mountain
every fifth Sunday in June to sip
coffee from a hot spoon. This time
you’ll tell him you are learning
to contain the sea. These words—
out loud and yes, he’ll listen, balancing
his spoon on the thick saucer,
the sound pleasing to a quiet room.
He’ll study you, but measure?
No. He’s the sort to consider: you are
not divisible. Last time he was the one
to talk of replacing starting with learning.
Butter melting on hot cakes, lemon zinging
on your tongues, each breakfast must be
lasting. His is a name you’ll never write
on a photo. There’s no need to work at remembering
him. Like iron dissolving in water, the browns
and reds remain. And when he leaves,
you’ll see him off with a casual wave.
The way a burro’s tail swishes once.
Calm. Steady. Stay.

Sherry O’Keefe is the author of Cracking Geodes Open and Making Good Use of August. She has recent poetry and prose at Camas: the Nature of the West, Escape Into Life, and PANK.

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