Interior Landscape, with Roman Shades and Lovers

This entry is part 44 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Do you remember I told you about the afternoon
in the coffeeshop, the heat another layer of white
laid across the stucco, the silver samovars lined up
on the shelf next to blue and yellow ceramic bowls,
the espresso machine hissing in the corner?
Distracted by so much warmth, I asked the girl
tending the register if I could draw the sheer
Roman shades partway down. And then
the man walked in, mobile phone at his ear,
hips sheathed in denim; white shirt off-setting
a burnished face, the grey hair at his temples.
He carried a gift bag swathed in ribbons. Outside,
tiger and spicebush swallowtails splayed open
their wings, circled, then rested on the white lilac.
The woman he was waiting for arrived.
They took the table farthest from the windows.
They held hands, they kissed. Birthday?
smiled the girl bringing cappuccinos and napkins.
The woman smoothed her dark brown hair.
Packing up my papers and my books and pens,
I peered at the sky. If it had rained right then
I might have gone out under the trees to be
like the lover and his lover, awash in that murmur
passing like a single flower between them.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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3 Replies to “Interior Landscape, with Roman Shades and Lovers”

  1. If it had rained right then/I might have gone out under the trees to be/like the lover and his lover, awash in that murmur/passing like a single flower between them.


    Beware what you see beyond sheer Roman shades
    pulled halfway down. The rain shower you saw
    yourself drenched in scurrying toward the trees
    for shelter from the sudden downpour? It did not,
    could not dampen the heat that sullen afternoon
    in the coffeeshop. But the murmur awash between
    those lovers passing like a single flower between
    them linger. And I, too, find myself under this tree
    shorn still of its leaves but budding (a late spring).

    I stayed under that tree, looking in, hoping you
    had rushed out and found me there, waiting
    with a coat and a misplaced parasol, to catch
    you in a thunderstorm that would simply rend
    those petals. But I would keep you prim-dry
    while you laughed out a soulful surprise: Fancy
    seeing us laughing in the rain, hallooing, too,
    like lads and lasses running defiantly through
    the rain, and not scared to steal a kiss or two.

    Two graying heads under a sheer parasol
    laughing but afraid the torrent will not stop.
    It was good then, when we did not fear the rain.

    —Albert B. Casuga

  2. I love the distraction and layers in your poem that add to the sense of interruption and immediacy: the heat of the afternoon and of the coffee and tea, the mobile phone, the denim, the burnished face, the bag, the ribbons, the wings, the lilac, the napkins, the papers, the books, the pens. Beautiful . . .

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