Two Poems

Pumpkin Seeds

[audio link]

We are all together again
on Halloween eve
just like always, me
up to my elbows in pumpkin guts,
you and your dad
seated at the table
before spread-out newsprint.
Divorce is irrelevant
when there are pumpkins to carve.

I attack another 
with the largest kitchen knife I own,
in imitation of a bad horror movie.
How pale and vulnerable
my wrists are. I am crazy

for the seeds. The seeds
are the only reason I carve pumpkins
anymore. Well, and to see what you—
at your age—might make. Interwoven
throughout one stringy womb,
I find sprouted seeds, a pumpkin
pregnant with fledgling
jack-o-lanterns of the future;

lit and grimacing faces that will
never be, maniacal grins for porches
we can only imagine. Then, I tell you
a story: the autumn you were in utero, 
your first trimester, I craved pumpkin seeds,
and your dad brought them to me by the bowlful.

In fact, you are probably 95 percent pumpkin seed
I say and you say, I don’t really like them!
We laugh, we three, around our table. Then,
we light candles, place them inside the hollows
we have made. Just like us, they flicker and wink
at decay. Cleaned and carved by loving hands,
the very faces of creation.


Telling You

[audio link]

We needed                       to tell you                            the truth

to find                             the right words                     about us

a way                              we weren’t sure                   how it happened

over the years                  our son                                our gift

we lost touch                    lost our way                         our son

with love                          like a plant                          uprooted

torn up                             that lived and died               unexpected

in the now                        once upon                            a time

you will grow                     a time                                toward the future

and connect                      through you                         we are

are going to be                 connected                           dear son

you said                           life goes on                         peace out

okay                                okay                                   okay                                                                                                                             

*Note: this poem should be read by three voices. Voice 1 reads column one going down, Voice 2 reads column two, Voice 3 reads column three. After each column is read, then the lines are read across like this:
Voice 1: We needed
Voice 2: to tell you
Voice 3: the truth

—Lisa Vihos, Sheboygan, WI