Identities

She wakes in the dark
and goes downstairs
to put on the kettle for coffee.

She fills small sections
of her daughter’s bento box
with goldfish, strawberries, and salami
while the water boils.

She puts away dishes,
sorts pilings on the table,
while the coffee steeps.

She writes snippets of stories
between sips of coffee,
letting the animals in
and back out again.

By the next hour,
she  dresses and winds
along the back roads to the office.

Each part of herself,
lines up
like the arms of the keys
on an old Underwood.
Always ready
to type any letter,
at any moment,
with just the right punch.

Woman, mother, wife, daughter,
writer, friend, colleague, manager,
poet, graduate, crafter, naturalist…

Even if you know how to type,
some of the keys will stick,
some of the keys may hesitate,
leaving a faded letter
in the middle of a word.
It’s inevitable.
Some of the keys
may not function
as they did once.
Some of the keys
may not know their cue
or have grown tired
of responding.

She fills a whole page
of letter after letter,
bringing words together.
Some days, she barely manages a few lines.

But each day,
all these parts of herself line up,
without a clue
who may finally
take the stage.

~ Megan M. Codera

No Lines

Low tide blends with the clouds,
difficult to decipher land from sea from sky.
Waves make great strides to define the shore,
 sandpipers scramble along an absent edge.
The surf recedes, muffled by the wind.
And you are dizzy
with the
pull.
Uncertain
of how
to spin
without
a focal point,
of how
to walk,
without
holding
your
breath.

~ Megan M. Codera

Reconsider

We are so certain
of our tastes, our styles
our manufactured identities,
defined by brands
and politics,
by friends
and how we choose
to spend our time.

We are so certain
of the things we don’t like
and half expect the rest of the world
to care.

But all these things you choose
or choose not to choose
won’t make much of a difference
to anyone
tomorrow.

Some of the bumper stickers
you flashed in your twenties
have faded.

In this hesitation
and resistance
to be defined by anyone,
you find yourself
more selective
on how you share
with your children,
with your friends.

Of all the images,
she chose a rose.
Pale and spotted with
rain or dew.
Though I don’t really care for roses,
I took her offering with grace.
I looked again
at the pale rose:
open petals
above thick leaves,
in black and white.
I considered the rose 

as a flavor component of
infused teas and jams.
And I found a recipe
with raspberries
for us to try
in the summer.

~ Megan M. Codera

Transition

Barren, gnarled alder groves,
laden with lichen,
rooted
in the tangled remains of winter.
So pale and dismal
against the chalk white sky.
Waiting and waiting
for a change in the light,
for some kind
of alternate definition.

~ Megan M. Codera

 

No Matter How You Cut It

I run cold water
when I slice an onion.
I don’t know what it is
with me and onions,
but the burn pierces much deeper
than necessary,
much more
than I care to explain.

You may insist
on soaking or freezing
an onion
before slicing.
You may insist
that you would
never
let an onion
break you.

But this onion
is so smooth and crisp,
she knows
it will be pungent.
She holds her breath,
even though she can already feel
the fumes brushing her eyes.
She blinks hard
and turns away for a moment
before continuing to slice.
She takes off her glasses
and rubs her palms
on her eyes,
pressing too hard,
but it’s too late.
She puts down the knife,
lays her hands flat on the counter
and braces herself
against the waves.

~ Megan M. Codera