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Sample Poems by Rita Satz

It cups my elbow lightly
Balancing me across the street
The hand that is light, firm
Trying to say
You don't need me
But I'm here

Did my hand feel light, firm
When I took his small one in mine
To walk him across a street
Through traffic
Through life

When was the moment he knew
I knew
He didn't need my hand
Didn't want it
Needed to swing his arms freely
Uncurl his fingers

Now we take each others hands
Because we want to

Across the Way

When we first moved to the apartment
Everything I wanted was in
Across the room
Across the table
Across the bed

But sometimes I stopped to look at them
In the building across the street
Two men of middle years
Shadowing from window to window
Holding books
Holding plates
Holding each other

I look out more now
Down at the streets
Across at the windows
Smile when I see the two old men

I worry if I see only one
Stop and stare at the shadow
And wait for the other

There You Are

They're such strong memories
The ones I can still feel
In my body
The children
Running into my arms
Slamming themselves against my stomach
Wrapping arms around my waist
Or neck
If we'd been apart for even a little while

My husband
Looking up from his book
As I open the door
His serious face
When he says, with relief
There you are!
Although I'm not late

My mother
Grabbing my hands
Tight enough to hurt
That I'm there
The there where I appear
Every single week
Doesn't matter

What would a life be like
If no one was never afraid
That you wouldn't come back?


It's gone
The gold necklace
Heavy square links
A jeweled clasp

The necklace he gave me years ago
For no reason
No occasion
Said he just wanted me to have it
Said I had such a pretty neck

He had it made by the jeweler down the street
Consulted with him
Fussed over it
It wasn't like him to fuss over presents
Did I like it?
Fingered it on my neck

The policeman shook his head
When he asked when I saw it last
And I said
I don't know
I don't wear it often now
I just have it
Had it

The insurance man said
Whoever took it
Probably just wanted the gold
Would melt it down
Molten money

I hope he's right
I can't bear to think of it
On another woman's neck

The Park at the River

I look up from my book
To watch the boats slide by
The children slipping through the paths
On their scooters
Dodging the nannies huddled together talking
Rocking strollers
Bundles in wheelchairs

I have to look through the bushes
Planted between me and the river
Forsythia, roses, and ones I don't know the names of
Because I didn't plant them

Northern California

The green is different here
Asks more of you

Trees don't reach to each other
With branches touching
To make soft beds
Invite a child to climb
A bird to make a nest

Birds that light in these trees aren't delicate
They soar
Spread strong wings

The redwoods stretch up
Ignore the trees next to them
Crane their necks
Aim for the sky

The live oaks tangle
Gnarled branches
Keep to themselves

Cyprus trees stand
Like sentinels
Never nod

The land doesn't form sweet swells
For children to slide down
Doesn't spread its lap into a lawn
For a picnic cloth
And love
In the checkered light

The green here
Won't say
Love me
Come back
But I do