Two Poems

Connie Green

Car Trip

Somewhere in the rain
and mist of a winter day
you travel with your family—
those souls that have fled
still united in the gray Ford,
your father’s cigarette smoke
eddying around your head,
your stomach turning, nausea
as dizzying as the steep mountains,
your mother’s cool hand
passing you a lemon slice,
the bitter bite of it like a fresh
wind that pushes down the bile,
and once more the world
is icicles hanging from stone
outcroppings, battered houses
clinging to the mountainsides,
the car turning, turning,
curves and drop-offs lurching
past like dreams that sometimes
pursue you through the night—
but for those few hours all
you hold dear secure in that car
making its way from shadow
into sunlight.

In the Leaves, Something

after Mary Oliver

In last fall’s brown leaves
something coiled,
not a rope

unless a rope is patterned
yellow and black,
more intricate

than the leaf’s own mottling,
unless a rope
waits like a spring.

The cats stand back, lean
toward the curled mass,
their curiosity

hovering thick as the snake’s
patience, birds sing
from the maples,

nests tucked among
this year’s
green leaves.

Trees breathe in, out, summer
and her extravagance
ready to strike.

Connie Jordan Green lives on a farm in East Tennessee where she writes and gardens. She is the author of two award-winning novels for young people, The War at Home and Emmy; two poetry chapbooks, Slow Children Playing and Regret Comes to Tea; and two poetry collections, Household Inventory, winner of the Brick Road Poetry Award, 2013, and most recently Darwin’s Breath from Iris Press. Since 1978 she has written a column for The Loudon County News Herald. She frequently leads writing workshops.