This Quiet Gathering
My chocolate labrador, Kona,
follows me through the hallway
and up the oak-rimmed staircase;
it is a daily ritual we share.
She is my dark shadow, brown silhouette
in a painted house of beige walls
and white, stoic doors.
She lies near me on the floor
as I sit in bed barefoot
reading poems about clouds, birds,
and the patterns of creek stones.
There is only silence between us;
an unspoken solitude comprised of
sighs and tender glances.
Her soft green eyes a lantern
glowing peridot, dragonfly light.
I am content in this quiet gathering.
She is curled inward like my thoughts;
tame yet feral in nature. I close my eyes,
anticipate the unraveling that’s to come.
Days after her departure,
I step forward
beneath dripping lashes;
a black cloud of confusion
situated above a bruised heart
into the tilted room
the chipped window
overlooks a sunburned cemetery
of dead clover and wildflowers scorched;
their bodies burnt offerings.
A tiny, pale white feather
slowly swirls, floats, then swirls again
plucked from some unknown animal
dead or alive
I do not know but want to
discover the origin.
It descends into my hands;
I study its texture, the contours
of each feathery branch.
A fragility greets my touch
soft as baby’s breath;
delicate as a name
she would never learn to say.
She imagines Paris, the Eiffel Tower,
drinking coffee in an outdoor cafe
while people watching, strolling through
lavender fields on a Sunday morning.
The outdoor flea market spreads itself open
like a pair of butterfly wings,
inviting the curious and creative
a place to inhabit if only for an hour;
remnants of the past to reinvent,
treasures for the present tense.
Perched upon a white-washed wooden table,
vintage bottles of light to dark hues
of violet, mysterious yet translucent.
Her starling voice barters for their beauty
and for the first time she is not afraid
to sing in front of strangers.
Paris, one day, mon ami,
but for today the bottles will do,
carrying dreams of travel and escape
deep inside her shy violet heart.
Sandy Benitez is the founder and editor of Flutter Press, Flutter Poetry Journal, and Poppy Road Review. Flutter Press chapbooks were recently added to The University at Buffalo’s Poetry Collection. She’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Dzanc’s Best of the Web, and Best of the Net. Sandy has authored one full-length collection of poetry, five poetry chapbooks, and has appeared in three anthologies. She resides in Southern California with her husband and their 2 children.