Two Poems

Montauk, 1984

Once I built a retaining wall 
to save a house from the waves. 

I was young and my friend was not 
and it was his expensive house. 

He asked me to restrain the sea 
in a single month of summer days. 

So I lifted surf-round stones 
locking both my hands beneath. 

My back grew strong. I ruminated 
on reparations, making all things right, 

and lived each day to hear that meet-stone clack 
when odd space fits odd shape of rock. 

Afternoons, we drank vodka, 
made love, and watched the waves 

bang fists against the continent 
of hapless sliding hasty hills. 

When the wall was substantial 
we judged it good defense. 

I dug ten holes 
and planted suckers of the wild rose. 

I told the plants, okay 
now mend, now hold, the years.

Wild Girl and Tame

Between wilderness and the order of the house 
each makes her way. 

One tends the orchard in moonlight, olive, plum, 
fig, pomegranate. The other howls at the stars. 

The garden fence is the sign for going within. 
One races into the woods, anything, anything to race away. 

Berries, experimental paths, broad proprietorship, 
hillsides wide like a Kodiak bear. 

The other hangs the sheets to dry, 
plumps up the pillows singing. 

Sometimes bounds the fence to hold hands, 
to calm her natural fear. 

The wall is knowing one's place, 
geometry and the possible wind. 

Both girls listen first, 
then smell, then look and reach. 

One holds the lemon while it hangs on the tree. 
The other pinches the blackberry for ripeness. 

Both wear the sky like a glove.

PATTI TRIMBLE has poems in numerous places, most recently in International Jung Journal, Stickman Review, Canary, Cult! Munich, and (in translation) Projetto Margini di un Altrove. With grants from Lannan, Djerassi Foundation, and P&W, she reads/performs in US and Europe, and Bob Holman called her poetry CD—In the Middle of, Etc. (Out of Round, 2014)—a "classic right now". Patti has two homes: in Sicily, she lives simply and writes; in San Francisco Bay Area she teaches and writes for The S.F. Ethnic Dance Festival.

The Adirondack Review