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Sample Poems by Christine Higgins

Roses, roses, roses

Bright red, the gift of a valentine.
Crimson red, a dozen to say
I'm sorry, it won't happen again.
Peach roses in the front garden,
pricking the one who
dares to steal them.

Innocents dropping soft pink
petals to announce the bride.
Tea roses in the wedding bouquet.
Confetti roses, white roses
surrounded by baby's breath.

Rose petals opening,
opening, blooming like
the vagina at birth.

Dark roses, almost black,
for a dead girl's birthday.
Yellow roses blanketing the casket.
Bud roses in the shape of a rosary.

We let go of one thing
in order to see
what else there can be,
what hope, what shelter.
The priest wears a chasuble
embroidered with vines and
roses, roses, roses.

Jesus Supports the Artistry of the Special Needs

It's Art Auction night at Supported Employment, and Jesus is moving about the rooms, smiling hello to parents and friends of the artists. He is round-faced and pot-bellied, so you might mistake him for Buddha, but no matter. Jesus has taken scraps of wood and made frames by hand for the artwork—watercolors, cartoon drawings, oil paintings, abstract designs. Next to each piece of work, he has hung a placard with the artist's name, title and price.  

In the activity room, there's a small reception with cubed cheese and rolled salami, and on the walls are portraits of the Mona Lisa—each one perfect in its imperfection, and certain to bring a smile.

Soon, the guests will sit down, and Jesus will follow his itinerary for the showcase of songs and dances as best he can.  Suddenly all the performers, encouraged by applause, feel a burst of bravery to get up and sing and sway their backsides just like their favorite performers on TV. 

James will end by leading everyone in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and it's like a revival, the swinging and swaying takes the blues away. 

Thank you, Jesus.  


A white plastic bag-like you get at the bodega
for a soda and chips-catches the air
and takes flight in between tall buildings.
As it lifts in the wind it seems to seek out the cumulus clouds
and catches a sliver of sun in the cold November air, really
a shape sifter signaling hope, then
as it dips down-dashed like our hopes-it's just
one more piece of garbage on the city street.
Underneath this wild dance
there's a swirl of dead brown leaves, suddenly
taking on life in a gust of wind.
They seem to echo the need to rise
up once again and be counted.

I watch from a bench, half lost in reverie.
There is only one me, and I am chosen.
I will be silent in the fury.
I will be present, responsive
to the soulful vibrations of this world.