first love

after so many winters
there must be a spring
entering your vacant afternoons
the way a young black man
crosses into your back yard
for the first time
bringing you light
and your back yard is his back
yard is your yard
where god gets up before dawn
and plants tiny purple surprises
to astonish even your old age
where the dawn still cuts fresh
as adolescence

today
your heart still dribbles across the tar drive
where you were a young thing
with colt legs and pebbled skin
throwing jokes in the face of god
brash enough to believe
you would survive
you never thought one part of you
would stay firm as thirteen
year old breasts
while the rest of your life
crumbled into detritus
like your grandmother
who forgot her husband
forgot her children
and at age seventy
remembered only the love the war killed
when she was eighteen
got up from her rocker
and wept

there must be a spring
entering with melting footprints
the way a young black man
wearing a sky blue cotton jacket
steps across the thin layer of snow
covering your heart
and you blossom
like a sturdy wildflower
in the rain

and he won’t love you
with his hands
or his eyes
or his lust
he will only lay open
the heart of god
right there on your back porch
under the moonlight
and the streetlight
a gift you take into winter
when you no longer remember
the way he moved
into your life

wendy shaffer

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One thought on “first love

  1. Alex says:

    The Flow…
    The tastable imagery…
    The Message…
    Warms my heart and stirs my Muse !

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