Flowering Pear and Half-Moon (for Susan) — Taunja Thomson

I netted leaves and duckweed
out of the pond, scooping,
letting water run out,
and walking into the field
to dump the nutrient-rich
debris on sparse grass
hoping for a spring carpet
worthy of Wordsworth.

Then in one gust
wind picked up my hair
washed me in the smell of lilacs.
I looked up—wispy half-moon
revealed itself over the shoulder
of the flowering pear.
I thought of you.
Days rushed through me—
your wedding as sun invaded
and filled stained glass (I the flower girl
giggled all the way down the aisle)
a flutter of cameras    white    sunbeams
frenetic on the gazebo
your sloping country home
hills vibrating with dogs’ barking
valleys awash in cows
your small white face
in the hospital bed.

With a little girl’s fascination
for an older girl
I adored you as you teased me
in the pool, splashing me more
and more as I pretended
to be unconcerned.
To be with you
I stayed in the pool until thunder
rolled around us
my chest aching with water’s weight.
All those visits, I never wanted
to leave you.

They say if you live in a heart
you never die. But ye gods, Susan,
it is not enough. There is no consolation.
Flowering pear and moon be damned—
I would give them up, every year, if only,
if only you would not haunt me, and instead,
stand next to me, bent over, netting the pond
with me as your shadow in the water
once again.


Taunja Thomson’s poetry has appeared in The Cincinnati Poets’ Collective, The Cincinnati Poetry Review, The Licking River Review, The Aurorean, Lime Hawk Collective Arts Journal, Really System, Squalorly, Wild Age Press, The Cahaba River Journal, Sandy River Review, Watershed, and Portage Magazine. She resides in Kentucky with her husband and six cats.