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

Testing

I took us to places
where it was
difficult to hear each other
over the wind,
over the waves.
I took us to places where it was
difficult to see each other,
hands wiping
the hair and the mist
from our faces.

I read a review of one place
so close to the shore that the
“waves were too loud
for conversation.”

Take us
to that place.
Where we can’t speak
without being
interrupted
by the weather.
Where we can’t speak
of anything more
than what we gather at our feet –
agates and abandoned shells
of moon snails,
small stones with faces.
Line them up along a crooked
piece of driftwood.

Then walk out along the shore,
to scan the water for creatures,
pointing to the faintest clearing
in the clouds,
over the the Olympics.

~ Megan M. Codera

 

Seizing the Habit

I wake before five most days. I write every day. Even if it’s only a few lines, notes, or seeds to feed more lines and larger pieces other days. I work a full week and my evenings fill quickly with daily demands, just like everyone else. I try to split my weekends between words and family time. It’s no easy task. There are so many days I would rather just play with the family or do nothing at all. (Though even they have noticed I’m much more pleasant if I have gotten in my daily word fix). I am fortunate they support the time I spend with words. I’ve only had this steady momentum since last November, but it’s taken me far too long to seize this habit and I’m not going to ease up now.

Whatever your passion, whatever your medium, I encourage you to do the same. Find something to create or share every day. Notice things. Put them through pencils, pens and paint. Take pictures. These things will fuel your creations and if you choose to share, maybe you will encourage others to do the same. We all need this.

~ Megan M. Codera