Hilda Weiss is the co-founder and curator for www.Poetry.LA, a website featuring videos of poets and poetry venues in Southern California. Her chapbook, Optimism About Trees, was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2011. Her poems have been published in Askew, Poemeleon, Rattle, Levure Littéraire and other journals. Her work is included in three recent anthologies: Alternate Lanes; Wide Awake; and Coiled Serpent. A fourth generation Californian, she lives, writes and grows her own vegetables in Santa Monica.
The Men Are Flying Pleasure Planes
and the long saxophone sky-hum
of one single-engine craft
passes through blue air and slides
into my bones. So I lie down
in the backyard on the flagstone path—
lumpy pillow and faded towel beneath me.
But it’s no use to loosen my hair in the sun
the way a woman does for a man she wants to love her.
The men are pruning fruit trees with a chain saw
and rototilling dandelions from the lawn—
the green and luscious lawn that encroaches
on the flagstone path and me. Never mind.
It’s the buzz that matters. Everywhere
it’s spring. A bullfrog starts to croak.
My bones ache in their marrow, where the soul is.
A Shout Doesn’t Come by Itself
Voice either comes from mind or body.
Snake on its way to the creek
crossed the trail fast,
a zip of brown-patterned flesh
in cool, leafy shade.
In that moment we were the same
movement—away from each other.
Its body silent. My body
loud with surprise.
We’ll Both Get Wet
He and I are looking at the rain,
pouring rain: late afternoon, 4:45,
outside the lunch room. No. Not likely to stop.
We both know. Then, thunder as we watch.
And he’s asking to share my umbrella—
the small pink one, raspberry pink,
so bright berry it’s a plus-size woman lounging—
August on a day bed. Or, if she’s thin,
this umbrella goes well with stilettos,
a sheath dress, sequins. This umbrella, I say,
is too small. We’ll both get wet.
He’s a big man. In a plaid shirt, black pants,
a quiet belt. Truly no cover. He’s jacketless.
You go, I say. Get your car.
Bring me back the umbrella.
Jump cut now. And I see him, twelve,
fifteen feet away. Rushing into wetness.
The rose-pink umbrella, a cup over his cocoon.
Oooh, he says, look at me.
He does a quick hip-tilt body sway.
He’s a mimic. To which we shout and laugh.
Then it’s all rain, rain,
splashing, translucent, silver.
It’s all evening, and air
that makes me breathe. Sudden,
water-air. The arms of sky washing,
washing down. The parking lot—
half empty, distant, gray—speaks
of disappearing light.
From it, his black car comes, shining
like a limousine. Drives onto the sidewalk.
Makes arrival a special event.
It’s more my style, he says, to pick you up.
My little umbrella, bit of neon between us,
does a quick limp-cloth shiver. And we say,
Thank you, and Good night.