Two Poems by Carole Greenfield


I wish it were the other way round, evening hours (long stretching
darkness into deeper darkness) yours and morning hours (black to
gray to blue to gold) mine. Dawn has always been best, rising
of my own accord (no need for clocks) to meet my grandmother
at the pool, me swimming laps, she in her corner doing ballet, leaps,
turns, legs like a young girl’s, smile dazzling as the sun pouring
through floor-to-ceiling windows, drenching us both in light.

As long as I have known myself alive, I’ve loved the early morning
hours, cycling down quiet sleeping streets to my job at the bakery,
stocking trays, stirring oatmeal, salting grits, brewing coffee, opening
the door for customers lined up on the old porch, eager to enter,
place orders, find a perfect chair and table, settle in for the best part
of the day. Early hours. I can manage solitude in the morning.
That time of day never lonely, not for me. But late at night. Well.
Quite a different realm. A separate hemisphere. Not my true home.

Trace Fossils

Small children do not wait for pain
to make a lasting mark. They give fair warning;
we have time to wipe tears, mop trouble, kiss
a bruise, pronounce it healed.

But love leaves an impression that won’t
be kissed away; an imprint left in something soft
hardens and congeals. What passed through fire once
is tempered, then annealed.

Children trace fingers over fossils, guess
at what’s revealed: evidence of ridges, indentations,
life long over, heart’s rush sealed.

Carole Greenfield was raised in Colombia and now lives in New England. Her work has appeared in Red Dancefloor, GulfstreamThe Sow’s EarWomen’s Words: ResolutionArc, and is forthcoming in The Eunoia Review.

“Upwelling” by Carole Greenfield

Last hour, last day before break, alone in an empty classroom, is when
I hear them, sleigh bells, silver jangling in the air, then steady thudding.
Before I can leave my chair, a line of children gallop by, shaking
handbells. By the time I reach the doorway, they are past me, heading down
the corridor. No one sees me watching, not even the child at the
end, my Alejandro. Alejandro, who tries to speak English, gets
embarrassed, says, “Forget it,” folds his arms and closes up his face.
Alejandro, whose sudden smiles I can count on one hand and still have
a finger or two left to hope on. Alejandro, a skeptic at
seven, if not yet a confirmed cynic. This same person brandishes
his bell on high, proclaims to the world, “I like!” and leaps twice in the air,
rounds the corner, vanishes from view. I stare at the space that held him,
bells, echoes of clear joy resounding, reminding me of secret hearts
that try to reach the surface no matter how much weight we make them bear.

upwelling: the rising of deep, cold waters to shallower depths in response to reduced surface pressures

Carole Greenfield was raised in Colombia and now lives in New England. Her work has appeared in Red Dancefloor, Gulfstream, The Sow’s Ear, Women’s Words: Resolution, Arc, and is forthcoming in The Eunoia Review.