Alarie Tennille

Breathing in the Sea

(inspired by Wind from the Sea, 1947,
painting by Andrew Wyeth)

A visitor once ran from this room –
thought she saw a ghost. I admit
these frail lace curtains take on a life
of their own, but I believe people
carry their own ghosts with them.
Been here all my life and never
seen one.

Everything about this house is spectral
gray. New drapes would only make
the walls cry out for paint.
I’m content to live in the past.

The fluttering flowers and birds
are right pretty. Grandmother Hathorn
made them. Maybe she figured
they were as close as I’d ever come
to a bridal veil. We redo to make do
in this house.

Sometimes I take a nap up here,
watch the curtains billowing
until they lull me to sleep.
Don’t they look frothy like seafoam?
Muslin would snap like sails.
The sea breathes right through
the lace.

Taking Forever One Day at a Time

I love

the way you return from errands
with a present – a Danish, book, or bottle
of champagne

how you thank me for every meal
from coq au vin to a ham sandwich
and make coworkers think
I’m Julia Child

hearing your voice in conversation
downstairs before realizing
that you’re talking to the cats
in the same serious tone you use
with plumbers

how you told me I was funny long before
anyone else did

that time in France when I said our waiter
looked like Orlando Bloom and you answered
then we’ll have to come back tomorrow

the fun of reading a book you’ve just finished
and finding oops! duh! or what a jerk!
penciled in the margin

the way you reach for my hand
before crossing the street

how you describe every dark-eyed
brunette – she looks like you – no matter
how silver I go.

No wonder forty years have sneaked by.

Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Her newest poetry collection is Waking on the Moon (available on Amazon). Please visit her at and sample her new blog.

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