Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Tone of Voice"

I’m okay, fine       
she whispers without eye contact       
I’ve got it handled       
Don’t worry       
He misses the hollowness of her words        
overlooks her subtle cues—       
her Woman Speak       
She tucks her feet onto the couch,     
pulls herself into a tight ball under a red throw       
stares at the television without seeing       
sighing deeply       
Oblivious, he flips the channel       
to his station       
all’s right       
content to listen to her words       
instead of her tone of voice       
Her annoyance and sadness battle across her features       
surreptitiously, she wipes her silent tears       
waits for him to notice her heaviness       
His attention rivets on the game       
its motion mesmerizes him      
takes him away and isolates her     
She grabs hold of anger over sorrow       
indignation throws her off the couch       
propels her into their bedroom       
fuels the door slam        
He sits with bewilderment      
Cautiously, he approaches the closed door     
tentatively tapping       
Can I do something?       
No. I’m okay, fine        
I’ve got it handled       
Don’t worry       
He opens the door anyway       
pulls her into his arms       
In tenderness, he wipes the tears from her face       
We’ll handle it       
he soothes and reassures with understanding       

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"One-hundred Degrees in the Shade"

Dust chases us down the road   
engulfs the car   
swirling like powdered sugar blown from a birthday cake   
coating our sandaled feet as we step into the furnace   
The dogs retreat to bunk bed and chair   
anticipating evening’s approach—   
a breeze, teasing and seductive   
Buffalo grass, brittle reminders of Spring’s bounty   
squat in death   
Cedars, tipped in brown and rust,   
finger summer’s dragon breath in search of moisture   
The naked sky, adorned only by a relentless sun   
yearns for bird song   
Silence, even, languishes in the oppressive heat   
Live Oaks, gnarled limbs supplicating to the cloudless sky   
plea for rain   
Wash away the sins of the world   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman