Sunday, February 26, 2017
The Sunday Poet: Heather Nelson
Heather Nelson is a poet, teacher, mother and recovering attorney based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She studied writing under the poet C.D. Wright as an undergraduate at Brown University. Most recently she has studied poetry with Tom Daley and Barbara Helfgott Hyett. Heather's work has appeared in Constellations, The Somerville Times, The Sunday Poet, he Compassion Anthology and Ekphrastic Review.
The Leaning Tower
is climbed by appointment-
timed clusters of travelers wound into queues,
shuffling along the edge
of 4:30’s scorching shadow.
I am searching for Sophia
when a dark-garbed guard turns my head
with a sharp bark: Watch your son!
My blond boy as always is climbing the rails.
I spot her at last-far off
on the grass, behind the Pomodoro,
where at 4 she practiced her shaky
walk-over, dark hair sweeping the ground.
Like an umber fan, hair hid
her burning face, her trembling legs,
the trace of amused scorn at the corner
of her older brother’s mouth.
Still waiting, I’m wishing for morning
a return to the wall where they all
walked abreast, two boys and a girl,
tramping together along Lucca’s rim.
Truthfully there was morning
fighting too, over three bottles of
water, bought just for the bathroom,
spilled struggling over who gets whose first.
Lunch served us a respite under the cover
of a wide canopy, we all had room
for seven wines poured by the owner’s daughter
whose red hair wound across the label of the Rosato.
Our family runs toward noir,
thick brow and olive skin,
sister and big brother twine, arms wrestling,
each boasting a greater darkness.
The last wine served is darkest
and sweetest lingering in the late afternoon light,
blurring Sophia’s lithe and livid frame, her simmering shame,
all she is hiding in her halter of yellow flowers, daring me to find her.