Adrienne J. Odasso
Published on: 11/26/2012
Letters to Lost Friends & Imaginary Lovers
When I think of you, which is often, snow falls
in the chambers of my heart—not because
we are at war, but because we missed
our one chance to meet. I pause to imagine
the sound of your laughter, and your name
will be the name of my first daughter.
In my darkest dreams, I have you:
quick eyes, stark smile. Still, the distance
between longing and having
was always what I wanted:
the harsh, unbelievable thrill
of being the hunted.
There is nothing to forgive.
You gave me a boat,
then set me adrift.
And I lived.
You hated me for guessing
that it was you—but no, I knew
just who I was looking at
that day beside the fountain.
Under your breath, you swore.
I chattered, spat out cherry-pits,
and loved you all the more.
You gave me Eden:
snake in the lilies,
and one last chance
to get even.
If I ever lose you, you will
be the hunted, know the thrill
of the chase, be the one whose face
I'll see in rain on the pavement, will throw
my life away when I can't make the call.
You will be the one
I've loved enough
to go quietly—that is,
if you'll even dare
to let me go
(& dare you
Published on: 11/27/2012
It's lust for the hard and the cold, the ice-silvered glint of light
through a diamond or a dozen. And as for the gold, I'll have it
any way you can name it: yellow, rose, white. I'm frozen
with fear to admit it, this grit-polished, cloth-finished pleasure
at my throat. No, I can't see it, but I know that your star-struck eyes
will fall there in silence every time you seethe, and every time I breathe
I shiver to know that this fierce and fire-wrought, wire-taut thing
is pure, forged trust. See it and need it. But I forbid you to touch.
Published on: 3/23/2006
The Damage Done
In my dream, they told me that you
had died before dawn, but you were walking
again so soon. I took this as I'd take
news of recovery from sickness, though
I stared with wildest fear when you came
home in the suit that Mom had bought
for your birthday. Going-away presents
should not be gifts for death, but there you were
wearing it, smiling as if you'd been told
you had a fever. Not having blood
anymore is not the same as having
a fever. We went out to dinner
that evening, you in your suit and Mom
quiet and grave in a matron's dress.
Behind her hand, she said to me, "Be kind
to your brother. Don't run from him."
Published on: 11/18/2005
One if by Land
In front of me, a man is holding
a wooden ship in his lap. It has
black-stitched pink fabric sails, and rope
made from crafter's twine. At the prow, the name
REPUBLICAN is painted in green.
I cannot think why a model ship
should have pink sails and a lavender hull,
or why this man is carrying it
on a bus. My thoughts are clouded by color,
by the name, by the fact that the wind
is just so, and if he lets go, it might
sail out the window and shatter
on the rocks. Oblivious, the man smiles
sadly, dreaming of home across the ocean
Published on: 9/25/2005
In a book with a yellow cover, I found
the name of a plant that I'd found in our wood
one February morning when an early melt
unshrouded the brush. The berries were small,
pink, and clear as dawn over the rise
of our mounded land. When we moved in,
my father looked at the mounds and said,
"We've got ourselves a burial ground
or two." But for the dead, I'd have roamed
farther afield, and it was then that I found
the berries cold in a pile of leaves
that my brother hadn't cleared in the fall.
They told me never to taste—no, not at all
for any reason—
but they were sweet, iced mint and sharp
as the season.