Nancy Jean Hill
Summer Love, 1960
We talked as Girls do—
Fond, and late—
We fell in love the way girls do—
Braided one another’s hair—
Butterflies grew in our bellies
and telling private stories—became necessary.
We were nine years old—or maybe she was ten—
Often we sat cross-legged on her bed, holding hands.
She had thin blond hair—crooked teeth —
For Sure we’d be best friends, Forever—
I wrote letters to her all September—
even into October—No Reply—
November—a stack came back—
Return to Sender—Stamped— on every one.
Saving My Green-Eyed Princess
Last night your Papa appeared in a dream.
A royal prince bearing a hatchet,
he chopped through thick ice, plunged
his arms into the cold, black hole,
pulled you out, lifted you high
toward a diamond in the sacred sky.
You were eleven-years-old when I
avoided your green eyes
and held up your platinum hair.
Made an offering of your back,
fairer than the fairest of them all,
to the surgeon’s knife, and as he sliced
I had visions of the seven tumors
that had sprouted in your Papa’s brain
from a benign-looking spot
that leaked no warning.
His surgeon had dug, too late
too deep, offering up air
to this malign seed of the sun.
And I recalled, while your surgeon sewed,
the winter I bore down, pushed you out
into the cold, and brought you to him,
your father’s father. Tears simmered
in his pale green eyes as he curved
his freckled knuckles around your toes,
wiggled them as though he were going
to market instead of home.
You are twenty-eight now, and they excavate
again, from your groin this time,
where an innocent freckle’s grown
into a heart-shaped mole, mottled and raised,
uneven boundaries threatening to invade,
and I smell your blood
from a thousand miles away,
dream a mother’s dream
of you falling through ice
into a cold, black hole.
On Giving Up Golf
The bayonet plants are in bloom
and pine pollen stings my eyes.
The man next door polishes his golf shoes.
They shine like black bullets.
His wife leans over the railing
to say my life will be ordinary
if I give up golf.
My father taught me how.
The coldest spring in two decades,
my fingers too stiff to grip a club.
My throat is a culvert
filled with sand and grief.
Sea creatures washed up
after a storm amaze me.
I have taken sixty-six photos.
Nancy Jean Hill is the author of two collections of poetry: Unholy Ghost and Beryllium Diary. Her Poems have also appeared in several literary journals. She lives and writes in Stratham, New Hampshire and Readfield, Maine.