Shake Out the Beach


Shake Out the Beach” by Sharon Rauenzahn

Let love go.

Let the tide roll in, washing
from the sand, washing
from the shore, washing
out of tears.

Shake out the beach and go home.

9/4/1992 (revised 11/25/2016)

Photo: “Ebb tide, Sandsend” by Pauline E. (cropped)


Photo “Flatirons” by Michael W Murphy, via flickr

“For Tom, in Colorado” by Sharon Rauenzahn

You see the world from here, atop your rock,
Spread wide before you in the summer haze.
So guard this memory, and pray it stays
To comfort you, when like a rust-bound lock,
Time’s distance bars this beauty from your sight
And you must dwell below, confined to earth.
I cannot measure what your heaven’s worth:
Though swearing not to leave without a fight,
Yet you’ll go quietly, and quiet weep
For days spent far from home, and endless nights
Spent staring, not at stars, but at the clock
In some hotel room, wishing you could sleep.
No earthly peace awaits, where you must fall;
You’ll carry it within, or not at all.

July 23, 1993 (rev. 11/25/2016)

Window Shopping

“Shop window reflection” by Henry Bloomfield, via flickr

“Window Shopping” by Sharon Rauenzahn

sometimes as we pass
she touches my reflection
smiles through me like glass

May, 1992 (rev. 11/25/2016)

Harvey’s Coin


“Harvey’s Coin” by Sharon Rauenzahn

Round, heavy, cold in my hand
One Rhodesian shilling
Smooth in my hand, cold
The classroom bustles around me
Harvey’s coin collection
Brought to school for show and tell
Spilled across the floor
Six kids around sets of three tables
Harvey sat at the end of our set
The coins spilled under our table
I don’t know why I took it
Held it, kept it, pretended not to know
When the teacher offered amnesty
I was terrified, guilty, full of shame
I hid the coin, in a pocket, in a drawer
Tried to forget, and often did
Now and again I still find it
In a box in the garage
Because I still keep it
Because what else can I do?
Facebook has far too many
Harvey Shapiros
If I’m remembering right
If it was his collection after all
And not the tall, blond boy
Whose name I can’t recall
Thinking it over, it might have been
But in my mind, it’s always
Harvey Shapiro
Hot-headed, stubborn, fast-talking
That way he leaned in when he argued
Elbows bent, hands pointed forward
Brilliant, handsome
I’m not sure he ever noticed me
I’m not sure I ever knew
Why I watched him
Why I stole his coin
Round and heavy
Cold in my hand

November, 2016

Cast Iron


“Cast Iron” by Sharon Rauenzahn

The smell of blood is a cast-iron skillet
Salted clean, ready for oil
Our parents preferred non-stick pans
Disposable razors
Free love, if they could afford it
We put our kids in “back to basics”
We sign up for war
We cook with cast-iron

February 26, 2010 (rev. 9/5/2016)

Some Bruises


“Some Bruises” by Sharon Rauenzahn

The bruises are almost gone now;
those were not your fault.
My too-thin skin betrayed me once again,
and kind fingers left unkind marks.
“Pea Princess” you called me;
I’ll bet you don’t remember.
I never forget anything:
Each word, each look,
each touch, the rarest gift.
Everything of mine that once was yours
I know and keep by heart.
But now and then I do forget:
my self, my pride,
tomorrows and yesterday.
All that’s me can disappear,
in your kind and unkind eyes.
Some bruises last longer than others.

January 30, 1993


Photo: “Askew leads Crayford.jpg” 1976

“Askew” by Sharon Rauenzahn

Just for you,
my heart breaks anew.
down the middle, or maybe off to the left,
like the little cleft
that mars your otherwise perfect chin.

but what’s to do?
i shall starve myself thin,
just for you.

you grin,
marvellously askew.

May 11, 1993


Pompei – scene from the Trojan war

“Cassandra” by Sharon Rauenzahn

There’s always one cop in the movie
or the tv show
who sees what’s really there:
the old lady smiling, turns with a demon face,
shows the camera
what we’re supposed to think he sees.

Or the one scientist who predicts
the earthquake, the comet,
the tsunami, the life-changing plague.
But he can’t prove it.
He has to wait for the disaster
Only he can see coming.

If this were a movie, I would be that cop.
I knew. I saw it coming.
Never quite believing,
I could only wait, forgetting
my own untold warning:
A silent Cassandra.

When it happens, so suddenly,
it comes out of nowhere:
The knock at the door,
the midnight phone ringing, ringing.
Everyone is so surprised.
Everyone is so shocked.

And I am shocked too,
but not surprised.
Now that it’s too late
I remember my own fore-knowledge.
Shattered, smug, telling myself
I told you so.


The Sniper (Colin’s Poem)

David Douglas Duncan. ‘U.S. Marine snipers work closely in three-man teams.’ 1968

“The Sniper (Colin’s poem)” by Sharon Rauenzahn

If I let myself think of you as
Far away
I’ll lose my edge
My hands might shake
I line up my sights with you
Standing at my shoulder
The baby is pressed to your shoulder
I line up my sights and you
Stand still, as I taught you
Wait, my heart whispers
Wait for the shot
I line up my sights while you are
Not far away
Not thinking of leaving me
Not sad
Not having a hard time with the baby
I lean in, lowering my shoulder as
You are here, with me, as
I take the shot
I will see you soon
I have to think that way