Across a restaurant table, I casually suggested
we could meet up in Hawaii, as if traveling
six thousand miles after years of separation
might be ordinary.
Once he’d made the long, impetuous trip,
once we were there, evening air billowing my skirt
over the Pacific, surf sweeping like brushes over drums,
I knew we’d marry.
Now six years later, we’re flying back.
There’s nothing smooth about the takeoff.
We hear grating like car gears stripping
as the flaps retract.
A buzz above the engine sounds doesn’t go away
with altitude. At ninety minutes the announcement
comes: the plane’s diverting to Chicago.
(It’s losing its hydraulics.)
Coming in we see the nighttime runway lined
with fire engines, water trucks, bright temporary
lights illuminating everything. Together, we focus
only on the details —
where we’ll stay if there’s an overnight delay,
how to find the luggage, what time we might get in.
We no longer think of drinks with orchids
in the glasses, island heat, the scent of frangipani.
Recapitulation at Jazz Fest
Your heart beating to
its post-surgical rhythm
New Orleans, we start
exploring together our
syncopated pasts —
the city we each
loved separately before
we loved each other.
We replay our lives
for each other through places:
you buy me breakfast
at Brennans; I buy you
beignets at Café du Monde.
Together we walk
the old French Quarter
hoping not to see signs of
the hurricane’s toll.
And then we part
to travel different routes
to San Francisco
you by air with friends
hoping memory helps you
reclaim who you were
me by train alone
hoping its quiet helps me
claim who I’ve become.
About the author
Patricia Behrens was born in Massachusetts, fell in love with New York City during college and has lived in Manhattan ever since, although she…Read the full bio
Issue 24 · September 2021
Table of contents
- Three Poems by Dinah Ryan
- Two Poems by Daisy Bassen
- Three Poems by Carl Boon
- Two Poems by Patricia Behrens
- Upon Entering the Unknown University
- Two Poems by Christine Potter
- Earthly Possessions
- The Overflowing Suitcase on a Bus Stop Bench
- Two Poems by Nathaniel Calhoun
- Blessing of the Animals
- Why Honey Matters
- Two Poems by Rimas Uzgiris
- Missing Buses
- The Trek
- Red Coat
- Watching a Late Autumn Thunderstorm
- Two Poems by Rick Mullin
- ON O’HARA’S BIRTHDAY
- I Travel Back in Time
- Postcard Prose