by Linda Lee McDonald
Beautiful beloved, when I first met you,
my back was wedged against a closet door
trying to keep the monsters inside
and in my hand, for luck, was a penny.
I thought it was a dollar
or a thousand dollars
or all of the dollars I would ever need
in my whole expensive life. But,
it was really just a penny. A green penny --
only a vague outline of Lincoln.
Beautiful beloved, in a move I did not see coming
you slew the biggest monster
in my closet and then instructed me in killing:
hold this one by the neck, hold that one
by the tentacles. You even made me kill
the ones I had tried to tame as pets.
Then you asked me for the penny -- no,
you pried it from my hand. And replaced it
with gifts: an emerald tree frog
mist curling the base of a hill
the shocking leap of a gazelle
a spring of lilac, the bright
moment light shines through water.
Beautiful beloved, my revelation
is this: I am no longer here
for your miracles
or your power or your messages
from angels or even for an entrance
into the golden eternity you built
with your hands; I am here for this reason:
when loneliness echoed inside of me
like a small coin dropped
down a deep well, thin copper
tick tick ticking
against stone walls --
such a long way down
like breath held too long --
I didn't see how the mouth
of this well was the jagged maw
of a beast.
You caught what there was left to catch:
when you touch me, I want nothing else.
I love you because you make me trust
the shimmering fish skin of hope.
I love you because you make me feel
like the girl I never was, never thought I could be --
you make me feel like some beautiful, happy girl
on a porch on a purple summer evening
and you are my sweet first kiss.
First Place Winner in the Poems for Books Contest
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