Three Poems by Marianne Szlyk

Evening Walk in East Rockville

After Kenny Barron’s Clouds

Marianne Szlyk
This evening I am walking
towards the thunderheads as full
as oaks on the horizon.
Before sunset, the light thickens
to the yellow of juice
from ripe peaches.  The color
stains not only towering clouds
but also trees and lawns.
Smoke blurs the air as
men grill flank steaks behind
clipped hedges.  The backyard stereo
is thumping Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina.”

I walk to Maryvale Park
to see shadow colored turtles
paddling underwater, or bees hovering
above the Joe Pye Weed.
I wait for Red-wing Blackbirds
to dart through the cattails
and over the pocket-sized pond.
I listen for Northern Mockingbirds
imitating the flute flowing through
open windows. I watch for
blackening clouds, shrinking blue sky,
or the darkness after sunset,
whichever comes first.  

Eugene in the Fourth Year of the Drought

At first, at fairs and festivals,
we basked in sun.
Clothes dried out fully, without mold.
Cotton skirts twirled as we walked.

Grass turned to straw.  It
often did.  Fires blazed further inland.
Streams dried up.  We hoped
for snow in the mountains.

Now in the fourth year,
we wander, unwashed, skirts stiff.
No winter rain will be
enough.


Blue Green and Brown (Rothko 1952)

She wonders what is intimate
about an enormous canvas hung
up on a museum wall.
Museums are silent except for
garbled conversations, docents’ lectures, spills
of sound from someone’s device.
Nothing is intimate, not even
silence, the pristine space between
each person in a public place.

She sits at home with
the image on her screen,
all other lights off.  In
twilight, blue, green, and brown
envelop her, keeping her company
in this humidity.  Cicadas call
outdoors.  Indoor and outdoor sounds
blend : buses’ wheeze, the washer’s
slosh.  She feels the space
between her and them dissolve.