Joannie Stangeland

Five Tries to Say I’m Sorry
by Joannie Stangeland

Only one year I planted pumpkins—

carriage or shell for keeping very well—

dragged them to the front yard,
left them to grow old and soften

while I wanted happily ever
in the country called leisure,

and I don’t like to travel—but remember

those days after the dash for the airport,

dragging our baggage to carry on,
the small home with the red roof—casita,

as though another language made
the walls exotic—dusk early and the notes

the yellow windows wrote, no grocery lists,
lights rising up the palms, and then stars?

Here in a house where tasks

are meant to add up to romance,

my hands twist, slacken, can’t find
the name for what I want

and it isn’t in the television, the lump
of laundry left undone.

I’ve been hunting for my heart

and revise myself daily, redraft my chapters.

You tell the story you want to hear.

This is the love letter I can send.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 2.

Joannie StangelandJoannie Stangeland’s most recent book is Into the Rumored Spring from Ravenna Press. She’s also the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in Superstition Review, Tulane Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. Joannie helps edit The Smoking Poet and Cascadia Review.

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