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Sherry Hughes Beasley

for H.
The woods were filling with the deep amethysts
of October and the windows of Stone Hall flashed
with sunlight that morning you stopped me
to ask how I liked my classes. Your bones hurt
me with their keen angles, and your long
blue tie hung down the front of your shirt
its obvious symbol for love. Your eyes searching
mine were green as lakewater after rain
has stippled its surface -
Married for years, I brushed you off,
but day after day you stopped me to chat, your hand
on your hip making you appear
nonchalant although I knew
you liked me, your voice with the sound
of the bell found far off shore that imparts more
loneliness than warning.
You might be surprised how often
I think of you. We are all lonely
in our own way.
The other day, on a whim, I called your office
at the college – no one knew your name;
he must have
moved on years ago, they said.
In the brief complexity of life
we make the minutiae fit the memory:
maybe I didn’t see myself and the world stopped
in the spirit lamps of your eyes,
maybe your plaid shirts didn’t glow quite
so exquisitely in the slanted autumn light.
I remember you
down to the finest detail,
and convince myself that you could not have been the half
to complete my whole, nor the store of
aqua vitae that welled in your laugh and spilled into the air
like a hand toss of bright coins, sparkling,



No, you were more like 
a soldier marching through a village on his way
to the front, and I was a young woman waving 
a handkerchief as you passed.


© by Sherry Hughes Beasley.
Used with the author’s permission.



Sherry Beasley is the author of three collections of poetry, The Lives of Women, Luna Violetta, and The Miller's Daughter. She has been awarded more than a dozen poetry prizes, including the Edgar Allen Poe Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of Virginia. Sherry has studied creative writing at Stanford University Online Writing Studio and under the tutelage of William Harmon and the late A.R. Ammons. Currently, she lives in the piedmont of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, where she is also a jewelry designer and artisan. She has two grown sons and three grandchildren. 


Post New Comment:
So well done. Thanks for this poem.
Posted 02/08/2014 05:42 PM
Joe Sottile:
Bravo! Bravo! Your words have touched my heart.
Posted 02/08/2014 02:23 PM
wendy morton:
The waving handkerchiefs of memory. Lovely.
Posted 02/08/2014 12:33 PM
Wilda Morris:
What a haunting and beautiful poem!
Posted 02/08/2014 12:31 PM
Did it really happen?
Posted 02/08/2014 11:30 AM
Posted 02/08/2014 11:14 AM
The beauty of this stuns me.
Posted 02/08/2014 10:27 AM
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! The scene and memories in this poem will play again and again in my head.
Posted 02/08/2014 09:04 AM
I agree with all that has been said here. Poignant is my word for it--painful and beautiful all at once.
Posted 02/08/2014 09:00 AM
painfully beautiful...thank you
Posted 02/08/2014 08:32 AM
Beautiful, meaningful, believable.
Posted 02/08/2014 08:04 AM
Now that is a love poem! So many lovely lines, but I especially love "We are all lonely in our own way."
Posted 02/08/2014 07:43 AM
Ross Kightly:
Oh, the resolution of the poem's narrative and moral dynamic in that final image is so cinematic [in the very BEST sense of the word]!! Thank you!
Posted 02/08/2014 06:39 AM

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