• Sarah Van Arsdale

April 12, 2022





Prompt, from WYNC’s National Poetry Month: write about normalcy.


Alchemy


Not often, every couple of months,

there’d be a last-minute rush,

Peter sprinting out for seltzer,

or, once, rosemary.

We’d bring out the extra glasses,

and vacuum the rugs,

clear the front hall of umbrellas,

cats, and bags.


That electric hum of excitement

at the burr of the buzzer,

the quick kisses by the door,

come in, come in.

Someone handing me a bottle of wine,

dropping their coats on the chair.

The buzzer would ring again,

and like a magic trick,

the alchemy would begin.


Even more than the food,

though it was always nice to have an excuse

to roast a chicken,

what I loved best were the late hours,

candles and conversation guttering down,

everyone sated, sinking into the sofa with a sigh,

Chris dozing off in the reading chair.

We were safe in one another’s company,

inhaling, exhaling steady as the traffic out there,

no one yet

moving for their coat

or mentioning the subway home.



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