“I fear hubbub” Emmy Bridgwater
In our kitchen you think you’re opening
a jar of your mother’s tomato soup.
A hairy Pandora, this is
your moment to release a hubbub.
We argue until silence brings in the paper
it reads while sniffing burnt toast.
Conversation drops out
of our mouths like teeth. Soon we
just make sounds since words cut
our lips. Hubbub kicks over a pail
of dirty water. Peace clicks its tongue
but we don’t let it in. The kitchen
sneaks off with the den. We’re left
in the nowhere of middle looking out
at two distances that chafe
Between classes Jesus and I had a secret margarita,
talked about which period of Neil Diamond’s was better—
his Bang or Uni recordings? In a required class, Christ & His Kingdom,
I didn’t get kingdoms. Jesus told me he didn’t rule any kingdoms,
but I’d lose points if I put that on the test. My professor said
Christ was in society and above society. Why not?
He was everywhere which must be exhausting.
I had trouble getting to class on time.
Chapel. Ten o’clock. The president said that hell for him
would be having to have intercourse all the time.
As Paul Simon sang, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.
Intercourse. What a charming word, like “covered bridge” or “doily.”
I knew nothing about that, only knew I wanted
to escape chapel—and I did—
until the sharpshooters nailed me: kids who stood overhead
taking attendance. One more slip & I’d be out.
I wasn’t out.
I had to get free of sharpshooters, get free,
learn intercourse’s multiple meanings.
Jesus waved goodbye on graduation day.
We lost touch. Still, whenever I have a margarita
I think of him and offer up a toast.
ORCHIDS FOR CHASE
We go to the Iron Hill for lunch,
the talk feisty and fun, traveling
from Media to Scotland
and back. Chase is like an orchid,
offering color, pleasure,
a brightness when winter aches.
She coaxes much into blossom:
a family, friends, students.
We grow under her patient touch.
When the lights fail and we fear
we’ll stumble down the stairs,
Chase is a candle, a kind word
telling us that we’ll be fine.
The storm clears.
And there’s Chase, tending to
a bud, readying the room
for a bloom.