Sample Poems by Martha Deborah Hall
When autumn leaves scatter from the maples into glens,
when seagulls banter near the shores,
when someone serves little pony cupsaken (cupcakes) in July,
when horse-drawn sleighs pass by my front door,
I brood for you, I brood for you.
Nothing replaces absence. When someone's gone, they're just gone. I woke
up in the black of night, having dreamed a nightmare sleigh ride where my
sister covered her head with red mittens to hide the fact she was sobbing.
Once awake, I recalled that Christmas morning when we twins were nine and
my older sister thirteen. By then we all knew Santa to be a has-been.
However, under the tree we found at least twenty meticulously-wrapped
presents for each family member. Compassionate parishioners of our
Episcopalian church must have delivered them the previous night as we
three children lay sleeping. How imaginatively they were wrapped. How
kind, selfless, and sensitive were these people. I was shy back in those
days. But I diligently wrote each gift giver a gracious hand-written thank
you. But in the dark side of my Virgo personality, I fussed and worried
that these gifts were insignificant compared to the harsh and overcritical
analysis of what I felt inside. My love of order was snowed under by the
everlasting gift of my mother's recent death, her non-presence wrapped in
a black, unraveling bow.
After Visiting My Sister's Grave
Plows are removed from snow trucks.
Sand's swept from formerly icy streets.
Strawberry shortcake's back on Cotton's menu.
The Farmer's Market starts on Thursday.
Fiddlehead ferns for supper tonight.
Pink bonnets on end caps at Macy's.
A pool opening party at Susie's.
Daisies bloom in my pocket garden.
New granite pavers form a path to the pond.
Violet-filled flower boxes sit on windowsills.
My neighbor feeds the pigeons again.
Why do I feel so chilled?
On Seeing My Twin And I In A Rerun Of A Doublemint Gum Ad
From Fifty Years Ago
Kappy and I wore white and green matching outfits and white
earmuffs. With welcoming smiles, we sat on a bench in Central Park,
chewing gum. To the Doublemint photographers, we looked like virginal
orchards, our eyelashes fluttering in the sunlight. Little did they know
we were funeral flowers on the inside. My father had moved us to New York
City because we were being bullied in the New Haven school system after
our mother's eventful death. Beneath our one-day orchid, veiled nun
demeanors lurked little adder's-mouths, devastated tarantulas.
In the photo my twin, Kappy, sits on Mom's lap. I'm on Dad's. Or
is it vice versa? We're twins, and I can't tell who is who. Our older
sister Judy sits in the middle between our parents. We three girls are
dressed in white blouses with starched collars. Over them, Judy wears a
jumper, while Kappy and I wear adorable navy blue matching woolen suits.
Judy's shoes are black patent leather Mary Jane's with a strap, while
Kappy's and mine are lily white. One of us has an untied left shoe. Dad's
in his typical tweed Brooks Brothers suit with a white shirt and a
pin-striped necktie. A handkerchief is placed neatly in his breast pocket.
His eyes seem calm and content. Mom has on black high heels and a gray
shirt dress with black buttons. We sit on a tan couch with maroon trim,
antique tables on each end. Behind it lie arched windows and a door, the
scene a restful nest.
What strikes me most about the photo is the big, brown eyes of we three
children. We seem so alert, so enthralled with the world, no sign yet of
the future roiling brook in our souls, or the forks looming up ahead. But
I know they are there: the rusted foot bridges and evaporated ponds. The
toad floating dead in an outdoor water bucket. The ferrets invading our
indoor balconies. Someone leaving a stuffed, dried-up turkey on our
The negatives of this photo developing underground.