the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013

Two poems by Joyce Holmes McAllister

Anniversary Sonnet

I wonder what you felt, my ailing heart,
When just a year ago they stopped your beat,
Kept us alive while keeping us apart.
Did you fear we were destined for defeat?
I wonder if you spouted and complained
So nurses, watching, said, “now heart, just hush.”
You probably felt fear, or even pain
And wished someone would comfort, make a fuss.
And all the time skilled hands made your repair
Within the cavern of my open chest.
I was asleep, and did not know or care—
Oblivious of you and your distress.

How brave, my heart, to face the surgeon’s knife.
Twelve months ago, that gave back breath and life.

In a Farm Kitchen 1940

We met eating corn on the cob,
dripping with butter, in a farm
kitchen in 1940. You were eight
and I was nine.

Just outside, scarlet red tomatoes
hung heavy on the vine, waiting
for some grains of salt. Cucumbers
hid under sprawling leaves, crisp
inside with knobby skins, while
raw green beans snapped against
the tooth, and deep red radishes
stung the tongue.

When you were done with life
for good, you left in midseason,
the harvest only half-finished;
weeks of ripe corn still uneaten,
the garden laden, waiting.

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