Was Love


Was love between us, a scent of danger, of linger, of orange and lemon, of salt and sand, of time dare not, of leave not please, of please come back, of one minute more, of one minute more, then gone.

Coin Toss

Teen announcer calls out, Final swim event. Coin toss, he says. All children who are seven or older please go to the shallow end of the pool.

The kiddie pool spills nakedness.  Kids who are not yet seven fall over three-year-olds.  Childhood shakes off itself.  The big pool fills with sharp shooters.  Wall Street.  We are far behind, not sure what a coin toss really is.  Stand on the margins.  Main Street.

Announcer says, participants, please sit on the edge of the pool, legs over the side, no false starts, no accidentally falling in, no using swim caps as baggies.  Or else.  You’re out.  

We are game.  At the bottom of the pool a treasure chest glitters silver and copper.

Don’t go in yet, I tell my son S. 

Sit down S., a lifeguard who knows him calls.

Now?  Should I jump in now?  My four-year-old son calls back to her.

Not yet, wait for the horn to sound, I tell him.

Guards, get in the pool, the announcer says, every lane needs a guard, someone on deck.  Kids, I want you to swim away from the other kids, no pushing anyone down.

A blare and burst of koi.  Tan, fair, brown kid fish go over the falls.  A simultaneous slingshot release twists into the shallow end of the water.

I yell to the guard.  Is he holding that girl down in the pool?  Guard, can you get him off of her?  She’s been down there a while. 

My tender son is focused on one thing I think he knows nothing about.  A talk we have yet to have. 

He knows enough.  That a penny lays under his foot.

They’re okay, guard says.  Kids are good.  The guard’s eyes never leave the lane.

Five minutes of life or death palm sweat on deck for what?  For clinking piles of change? 

No.  A penny.  Six dives become seven.  I count eight.

One happy man child payday penny later, my son’s hand held high, he says,  Is it over? 

Yes, I say. Let’s get out.

Here, Mom, my son says, giving me his coin.  This is for you.

I open my hand to the flash of a Lincoln.  My son and I, we are still Main Street. (c) M K Smyth 2012

Honest Persimmons…(A Poem, Honest)

Balls of orange.  Piled.  Farmstand-style.  In fat squares of wafer-thin balsa baskets. Honest, plain.

On a ledge, a cobalt sign with freehand lettering reads: “Persimmons.”

Come one, come all, take one, leave your honor dollars in a jar.

While nearby like clockwork, around eleven, squirrels in deck chairs with wheels, roll-up for the buffet.

(Much enjoying the guard’s daily nap.  Not leaving, so much as a “thanks” you set the table. None I see, brings change. 

Those persimmons call me too, from the curb.

I try to shoo-shoo them from my mind, like the fly trapped inside this morning.

The last of a consortium of buzzing undertakers revealed.

Between storm windows now freed. Hangar-on-ers from last summer someone invited from the porch step when we sought a breeze.

Still those persimmons, persist as I drive-by over days.

Color strikes my joy-chords. A five-alarm-bell bangs in my head.

(If Bergdorfs did fruit, this is what fruit would look like.)

Honest and plain. (They’d figure it out in cash-irony).

Monday comes and goes, I drive by, nodding in the general direction.

Two hands on the wheel, schooled calm. 

Tuesday, faltering, a palm sweat trigger pulled. 

“Plain indeed!”

By Wednesday my unraveling will pay trice the price.

Thursday looms, a fruit zombie fighting head voices drives my car. 

“Take me to your leader, take me to your leader.” 

Friday, pulling over, my toothbrush in hand,

ready for the spaceship launch, daisy coat,slung over my shoulders, a Hollywood tourist come to see stars.

Humble sinner, though no crime done — yet.

I approach the manger scene — on all fours. So many persimmons, so little time. (“Another poor woman,” they sigh from the kitchen.)

Poor exchange, yes, but I leave an anonymous poem under the basket.  Do an army-crawl (too, like a squirrel, a quick-grab), leave my wadded dollar, I spin back to my car, 

“Stop right there, missy,” a head voice calls. 

Zowie, I’ve been had. 


By a two-sleeve gusher — a Tchaikovsky symphony, taste-bud busting, down-throat juicer.

The chin extravagance of it all in a sound, in the squish.

Suddenly, “I’s gots all kinds of time,” do a slow-mo’ crawl to a lawn chaise.

Ambrosia, is slow-food (and dinner theatre).

A clouded sky breaks open with afterlife limelight, birds chirp “our song,” the mailman, now handsome, has seen it all before.

This truant’s feast, a royal welcome for drooling, dazed, smiling fools.

(if only fruit owners had an App for this new religion, on their phones, and one number – my number.

Off-hook, I am gazing into this galaxy of fruit riches, wondering, “can I train squirrels across town to use an iPhone to text me from their satellite fruit stands?” I will take the call.

For persimmons.

I thought, my issue, under control — yet, I am slack-jawed silly in persimmon season, undone by that one, rough, peeling wood house with it’s trick display! 

Save the scene for a cold night, I tell myself.

Today I rush home, paint the sound! Hang the perspective for another day. Vivid “furiousity,” the giddy, exclaiming, extolling kind of “hello, stranger.”

Color that back-slaps me, without lifting a finger,

Closer to the fire, second chance happiness, piled high.

P4 now, digging for quarters in my car, then, in somebody else’s car. 

(My derriere up in the air, who cares?) my shirt – an apron hammock, I bag full with what I can. 

Leave my honest dollars.


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