Selected Poetry by Sharon Scholl

To Ride an Elephant

I feel how easily hips and torso
 dance different dances, reach
 and retreat in steady rhythm.
 How my lazy legs swing, my head
 nods its own pendulum.
 The muscles of the grey beast back
 ripple slowly side to side while huge
 head sways in tempo. Lacy
 frills of ears tremble with their own
 rapid pulse.
I ride a rhythmic orchestra
 playing a score composed over
 millions of years. So long it took
 to memorize, the strolling elephant
 cannot change a single beat.


When grandma cooked starch
 the white powder turned translucent
 as the milky blue of underwater
 caves. It seethed like caldara,
 sending up bubbles that popped
 into sudden islands.
After it cooled, she scooped a coating
 on a vegetable brush and shook it
 over laundered clothing with the wrist
 snap and flick of bishops blessing boats.
Each article was wrapped up in itself
 and clustered in a pile to soak. Tea time
 on a porch swing was the perfect interval.
Sometimes, after pressing, the pale inscription
 of a starch drip would remain
 like a lily pad on a quiet pond,
 a signature that owned her dying craft.
Usually a hot iron in a nest of steam
 pressed tangles smooth,
 leaving a surface glow, a fabric holiness
 that testified to love's humble offices.

Car Fantasy

My Frivolity, you dubbed it - your mid-life
 crisis, a convertible Capri. Aqua
 like the south seas adventure
 pictured in your daydreams.
You drove it carefree, top down, wind
 sailing past your ears, to hail trucks,
 thread cars, hold onto a straw hat
 you wore to hide your bald spot.
You were a tarmac cowboy
 riding herd on a field of fantasy,
 a kite surfer skating the air,
 a weaver of joy from a skein of life.
When the window wouldn't close
 in the grip of winter, you parked the car
 under a sturdy plastic tent where
 neighbor cats found shelter.
Then the top wouldn't open, back window
 fell out - one day it wouldn't start.
 You asked the price for all these fixes.
 Worn cars, worn dreams were costly.
I wish I could see you now
 driving off, young and whole, into sunset
 clouds, passing birds and windmills
 on your way to the south seas.

About Time

When I consider this day
 that marks seconds by rain
 drips on a skylight
cloud banks shifting
 like a slow time-lapsed
 film of undulating veils
I wonder how awareness
 stretches, thins out to hours
 without memorable impressions.
Some things defy observation - 
 processes of blood, digestion,
 circuitry of thought
the old cerebellum ticking
 away as though it had
Earth forces also work invisibly
 pushing up the Hindu-Kush
 mountain range inch over inch
by plate tectonics, pressing
 like this moment leans against
moments already borrowing tomorrow.