Friday, February 10, 2017

"Seeing Through" by Melinda Coppola

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Seeing Through” by Melinda Coppola.  Coppola has been writing in some form for more than four decades. In addition to previous appearances in Songs of Eretz work has been published in several magazines, books and periodicals including: Harpur Palate, Kaleidoscope, The Autism Perspective, Spirit First, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Welcome Home, and Celebrations.

Coppola is parent to a young woman on the Autism Spectrum. She enjoys teaching yoga, especially to individuals with disabilities, and making art from beach stones.

Seeing Through
Melinda Coppola

In the summer, after rain,
six years since our last.  Meeting
over mint iced tea this time her weary
eyes, careless gray hair fell, heavy,
onto drooped shoulders. The blouse
so inappropriate, I thought, seeing
right through it. A woman should
wear a nice bra at least, I thought, seeing
right through.

I hadn't wanted it, this awkward date.
She'd caught me off guard with her call.
These days I loathed forced smiles,
cheeriness that smothered the bare
truth of my life. Avoided Let's have coffee
at all costs. Off guard.
I tried not to look again at her
tasteless I thought again bra
that wisp of a blouse on one her age
seeing through it. Right through.

Focused now on her thin lips, feeling
downright mean
I made to-do lists in my head
as she went on and on trying
to reach a point, perhaps, or find words
...died....I heard her say
murdered in his apartment. They think
my heart skipped a beat
it was a random burglary he
shame crept crimson into my selfish
was to be twenty the next day.
Her eyes bore holes into my skin, words
peeled away my feeble layers. Seeing right through.

Poets Notes: This piece sprung up from the surprisingly rich ground of mild depression, fertilized with distraction and the human tendency to make assumptions about others without actually entering their story.

Editor's Note: This poem has many wonderful moments.  The clever use of punctuation in places creates nice layers of meaning; for example, right off the bat in line 2, the placement of the period makes the reader wonder what the word "last" may mean; so, I knew I was in for a treat right from the start.

The remainder of the poem does not disappoint.  The "right through" motif works well in the first two stanzas only to explode into ironic new meaning in the final stanza.  The moral lesson of the poem certainly deserves attention.

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