“Perseid”, “Elizabeth, 1947-2016” and “Changing Days”



Chiburui: the ritualistic flick of a samurai’s katana to remove blood from the blade before re-sheathing it.

Even the peepers have gone to bed
shirt soaked with dew
arms tucked inside to ward off the night
slash of light pulls my vision
long and low along the horizon
another, above me, burning past Polaris
I wonder where they came from
not where they are going
what is heaven like
I blink and miss two
does God rip off angels’ wings
like a child would a butterfly’s
perhaps it is the wings
that brighten midnight
one last flare
to remind us of the light they’ve never seen
what battle ends
with chiburui of fire
how beautiful the blood of stars

Elizabeth, 1947-2016

Darkness, my oldest friend
so you know the house is empty again
come in, come in, sit a while
I just put the kettle on

it’s never been so quiet here
Elizabeth used to sing all the time
til that line caught in her throat
silence like a cancer grows
but I don’t want to talk about that

it’s jasmine and white rose
do you want lemon?
was it one lump or two?

not much to do these afternoons
shall we visit her?
I was hoping I wouldn’t have to walk alone
I’ll buy you a pint on the way back
remember the trouble we used to get into?

oh, so soon? I know you’re busy, but
I see some raindrops fall
maybe you should stay

don’t leave me to the echoes

Changing Days

today is one of those grey fall days
with threatening clouds and wild winds
that remind me of the coast of Maine
changing days, my mother called them

Grandma Ginny used to joke
that there was something in the water
thought her mastectomy would be the end of it
Dad says they buried her on a day like this

Mom was diagnosed three years ago
I watched the chemicals kill her
she stopped brushing her hair
when it clogged the comb
had her pride replaced with silicone

changing days are meant for wearing trench coats
or writing poetry
getting lost with iron clouds
not for mammograms

About the Author

Lee Geiselmann

I am a recent MFA graduate and my work has appeared in the Pine Hills Review, on haikuweekly.com, and I most recently had a piece accepted at Peregrine.