Smoke Signals: Poetry by Rita Anderson

By Rita Anderson


In Love with Falling

I spend too much time with these old photos,
________coveting the tautness of my parents
as newlyweds—his nervous bulk arched
________over her as he aligns arrow with string,
a game they would never play again.

I have studied to exhaustion these aerial views
________of a honeymoon cruise over the Poconos,
looking for the spark of myself in the brutal
________forest below since there are no smoke signals
left in the older couple, packing their rental
________car for a visit at my house.

I miss dancing
            more than sex,
_______________my mother confides.

Hope is a thing you could see from up there.
________Down here, it is the offer of a sweater,
a foot massage. I have muddied my knees,
________spying out the mystery of my parents’ fiction;
cuts on my palm bisect a deeper love line,
________an older promise to myself: I cannot marry
away my desire for fire.

Saying goodnight to them, I touch my lips,
________wondering how long it has been
________since I had a kiss
that scared me.

Rita Anderson grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended BGSU for undergraduate college. She is a member of Poets & Writers and the Academy of American Poets, and has an MFA in Poetry from the University of New Orleans, where she was the Poetry Editor of Ellipsis, the annual literary journal. Her chapbook, The Entropy of Rocketman, was published with Finishing Line Press in 2016 and her full-length poetry manuscript, Watched Poets [a Lovesong to Motherhood], was released December 1st.

One comment

  1. I loved Rita Anderson’s poem “Smoke Signals.” I remember looking at my parent’s photos of their romantic years and wondering when they stopped looping arms around each other as if it was as natural as putting one’s feet on a stool to rest them. The final line, “Saying goodnight to them, I touch my lips, wondering how long it has been since I had a kiss that scared me?” is a wonderful, revealing ending that made this reader quiver (even though the answer for me would have been “five hours ago.”)


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