Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Happiness” by Tricia Knoll, a poet from Portland, Oregon. In addition two previous appearances in Songs of Eretz, her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press) focuses on interactions of humans and wildlife in urban habitat. Ocean' Laughter, a book of lyric and eco-poetry about the northern Oregon coast, will be out in mid-December. Visit her at triciaknoll.com.
I pick up white quartz and walk a mile upstream to find one red stone
the same color as New Mexico’s adobe walls. That is the happiness
to rub against others in my garden from places like this golden day,
two river-sculpted beauties I tuck in my scanty glad sack.
Your eyes accuse me of loading happiness as a burden,
stone-cold bits, back-breaking. You rub my forehead with soft fingers.
Our light-shine of together might be blue jay feathers,
checkered-skipper wings, balsa gliders released from a high tower,
your hands on my hips. Your cloud-blue eyes say it’s ok, it’s ok.
That isn’t the way of me. Mine is a round secret buried in a knapsack,
bone of rock on bone, a grounding that sinks toes in silkened mud
and weights my heels on a stream bank where seamless rivers run.
Poet’s Notes: I collected red stones in the dry gulch at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico (pictured). Ghost Ranch resonates with the spirit of Georgia O'Keefe and the hundreds of artists, herders, archaeologists and photographers who have walked there for decades. It is a place of bright-star nights and sun-red cliffs. Defining happiness has been a lifelong work for me–not an easy one.
Editor’s Note: The poet weaves a beautiful conceit throughout this poem, evoking images of the far away places that the speaker might have visited. The speaker's sense of self and confidence is inspiring.