Two Poems
by Ute Carson
"Audience," Vol. 4. No. 2, Fall 2009, World Audience Publishers
After the First There is No Other

After your first lover's lips
No others taste like creamy chocolate.
And you only heed your baby's first calls
With the flitting joy of a hummingbird.
When you lose a loved one without knowing grief,
The emotional umbilical stretches to them but won't break.

When a soldier goes to war,
After the first fear there is only night dread.
After the first death blame is laid on the other,
Then numbness camouflages the warring mood.
When merciful Lethe drowns guilt,
A stranger is born
With familiar arms, mouth, eyes,
But an iced-over heart.


Birthday Omen

The wonder of a snail's belly
Flattened against the rain-spattered window,
Stretching, then contracting forward along the wet surface,
Confident, feelers like flexible reeds,
Eyes glistening pinpricks,
Its shell-house like a blown-up parachute in easy reach,
Only its soft underside exposed, at risk.
How does a snail balance its perception
Between the desire for exploration and the need for protection?

I watch from inside,
It's my birthday!
I too am vulnerable
Tapping old feelings,
As I turn into a child again,
Shivering with excitement, a sense of wonder,
Impatiently anticipating visitors and gifts.
And I long with a quivering heart
To become the center of the world again
As I was so many years ago.

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