Rebecca Villineau – three poems

I Go To The Back

Because this is where the yard speaks
It doesn’t do this in the front
By the road and the sewer

Across from the neighbors
And their bland rhododendrons
The tulips and crusted daffodils now
Past season

The world never speaks out there
It rumbles
Mumbles under its breath
Like a grandmother angry at the mess
Straightening the pillows

Out front the puddles give no reflections
They sit murk and dirt
There’s always cigarette butts
By the lamp post

I go to the back because at least there
The pine is renewing itself
Pushing spring green
Softness from its fingers
Growing up past the electrical wires this year

Reaching to the bathroom windows on the second floor
This gives me hope
The way the one blackberry
Branch survived the winter
The way the raspberry bush pops up in

Baby stalks below the porch
Aside the cherry tree
In its late spring blooms now falling
The aphids are coming I tell myself
But I’ll wait it out

I’ve learned to do this
Not consider the worse of things
The goodbyes that took too long or not long enough

The way we die never knowing
If these things mean something

I come back here because this is where I’ve buried some
Of my bones
The old ones
The ones I will come back to
The ones I’m saving for the right day
And the right time
When the earth
Will open

Hard Times

I have fallen
On hard times

There are envelopes
Beneath the lip of my door

Demanding the rent
Now late

There is but a little

And no milk
I have fallen on hard times

This love for you
Sweet as lemon

Drop Cooke
Or the radio

Swaying in
The background

Of this picture
Framed and placed

In a slice
Of setting sun

I’ve heard it said

One could walk to Charles Island at low tide
The ocean floor of the Atlantic rises
And the water goes no further than your stomach for over a mile

I always walked just twenty feet
From the ending of the sand bar
Leaving for a moment
A bucket of hermit crabs

Only to turn around
After contemplating the distance
And doubting the depth
Returning to the safety of cousins
Folding chairs
And sandy towels
Returning to the warm oiled
Arms of my mother

Telling me to be careful
Settling me on her knee to rest against her
And feel the tide pull in

Rebecca Villineau resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts with her husband, two children and a hound dog.