On Bags Now

The following poems by Anna Weaver were selected as the grand prize winner of the 2014 Holiday Writing Contest. You can read these poems on the bags that accompany our holiday gift baskets. 

 

nowhere, fast

 

You see them in parking lots

often enough, but something’s different

here, something more than the way

she permits him for this moment

to be taller. Her arms hooked through his,

she grips his shoulder underhand,

pulls her mouth up to reach him.

(You can tell her goodnight kisses

have always been athletic.)

Like every first kiss, space around them closes,

pulling the whole of their bodies

into one new mouth. By the urgency

you can tell this is no beginning.

This kiss is its own finished truth—

told in secret tongues—and you can’t help

but listen in. He swears there’s nowhere

else he’d rather be. The tilt of her hips

against the car declares she has no need

to go anywhere from here. And that’s

the difference: this kiss has roots

deep in the dark richness behind closed eyes.

Nothing between them reaches for light.

Nothing is seeded. Nothing opens or grows.

No innocence to slow them, these two

kiss like an ambush, armed to the teeth

and unafraid of what is not to come.

 

climate change

 

I know I said I loved you,

but that afternoon I also said

I loved the chicken salad,

which I didn’t know yet

would leave me retching

for two days. I’m better now,

of course, but not the same.

 

For one thing, I’ve stopped

ordering chicken salad at diners.

My hair is longer—only a fraction

of an inch, but I can tell—

and all the skin I was wearing

that day is gone, brushed off

between there and here, replaced

with new. My harmonica skills

are coming along nicely, enough

that someone might say, hey,

you're a fine harmonica player,

which would be a first, because

until now it's never been true.

 

The nights are shorter. The moon

has shrunk away from both of us,

same as the glaciers.

So much has happened.

 

So yes, I said I loved you,

I did. But don’t you see,

since then, it's rained.

 

untitled

 

We walked on sidewalks

heaved by roots, stepping

over the cracks with the quick feet

of people who have forgotten

they should not fall in love,

and he named for me each

of the trees. He traced the patterns

in leaves and bark, took my hand

and said, gently, that heartwood

is bad at defending itself. He taught

me the signs that a dead limb

needed to be cut and where

to set the teeth of a saw

to allow a callus to grow, a thickening

that might protect the sound

wood inside. A wounded tree,

he said, is not able to heal.

It wants only closure.

 


old boyfriends

 

I’ve done this before: Let my hands

go hunting over the body of tonight’s

 

lover, feeling for the bones of one lost

to me—for a familiar fit between new arms.

 

Something old is calling—a dark, rough

thing pressed down and away, made small

 

from years of not quite forgetting,

a suddenly now-glittering thing that flashes

 

through dark air. It’s faint but undeniable—

a shadowy ticking that promises, that calls—

 

like a clock counting small hours only the sleepless

can hear or a heart pinned by the weight

 

of my head. By the sound, he’s close. Close

enough to tuck my cheek into the little depression

 

I left in his chest. Our edges frayed now and soft,

surely we’d make a better fit...but the sound fades,

 

the hunt slows, and my hands come up empty.

Finished with me for the night, my new lover

 

rolls over, leaving me to trace contours

in the fresh sweat on his shoulder—a shining map,

 

a line of dashes, and there,

for this moment, this man: an X.