Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

Bink and I walk outside a lot. We are blessed with a number of parks and nature sanctuaries in our area, and we know some of them quite well. This poem stemmed from a particular ramble early last spring. I’m pleased that Willows Wept Review chose to publish it in their fall issue.


The Life Cycle of a Day

On a Massachusetts March afternoon,
still scarved and gloved, we drive

quiet back roads—harder to find
as new neighborhoods overtake old forest,

and she is almost silent—
a rare thing in our universe.

The Audubon sanctuary, one of several we frequent,
welcomes us with a near empty lot

sweet relief to we
who struggle with traffic and crowds.

She does her bathroom trip,
and thus begins our hike

rambling along a known loop,
lovely in the woods and field.

A sturdy boardwalk hovers
above sleepy waters,

winding a pretty path
through the red maple swamp.

It floods sometimes, dark liquid
pushing up through the slats

so our boots make music as we step
carefully, carefully, to keep pants dry.

We trust the boards over quiet wetlands
that seem to be dozing

until I spot three white masses softly anchored
around small branches, their warty shine enticing.

We lean in, close enough to see
black dots clinging together

inside little jelly globes like individual solar systems
punctuating the orange-black waters.

I default to words where none are necessary—
her quiescence tells me no questions have surfaced.

I say egg, tadpoles, the gradual transformations
that turn one-eyed drops of jelly into frogs.

A short silence, and then she says
Marine means ocean animals. Salty water.

Yes I say and we walk on,
equally delighted with our watery connections,

she in her own sea of images, salt water mind,
me breathing in scents of mud, spring, a fleeting peace.


Melinda Coppola

Published in Willows Wept Review fall 2022

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