Poems & Essays

21 Mar

When No One Looked

General/Column 2 Responses

Once when no one was looking,
I slipped my hand into the pocket of your jacket left behind,
so I could feel where you tucked your fingers.
I found a penny and a crumpled gum wrapper.

I took the pillow from your bed and held it
against my face to see if some trace of your
smell still lingered in its folds, but it smelled
like newly washed cotton and not like you at all.

I pulled your jodhpurs from the closet hook.
The pungent odor of straw from the barn floor
along with horse sweat still lingered in their folds,
and I recalled watching you for hours circle the arena.

Then I opened all the pages in your books where
scribbled notes to friends were used as markers
and crooked drawings from earlier years depicted
suns, trees, and stars marching in lopsided rows.

I stared at the picture of the two of us wearing
white dresses, dancing on the lawn of the English Inn.
We leaned toward each other, standing on one toe,
our right legs in a chorus line kick lifted behind us.

And once when no one was looking,
I curled into the fetal position on your bed and cried–
Summer still seems so far away
when we will be together again.


Rosalie Sanara Petrouske is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan, where she currently teaches Freshman Composition and Creative Writing. She has had poetry and essays published in many literary journals and anthologies including, Passages North, The Seattle Review, Red Rock Review, Third Wednesday, American Nature Writing, and Lunch Ticket. Her poem “New Year’s Day” recently appeared in a broadside from the Michigan Poet, and she has a poetry chapbook forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2016.



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  1. Susan Goldstein

    March 23, 2016 at 3:25 am

    You have such a distinguished resume! I hardly feel it is my place to comment other than this cliché: you pulled on my heartstrings.

  2. Nancy Brier

    March 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    What a beautiful piece.


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