Inhale to Goddess
are only a blur
in the foreground of my

There is a history in your face, every
line that draws up and
down each curve.
In just these few moments that I’ve met you,
I see

little joys in the
upturned lip, the slight
prejudice in your nose. Your daughter’s life
and death is in your eyes as you look away.
And when you smile back, your dimples
betray two lovers:

“They called me ‘hey good-lookin’!'”
You pinch me, and I see the
loneliness rising that you’ve
pressed down
shaken up
disallowed it in every coursing blue vein. Your breath is difficult,

shaky, in and out, tiny
breaks. But

you catch every sound
around you, every whisper,

You watch me closely, eyes
alert, ready to soak in
my life, more
life, just

Yours is crowded so beautifully on your face.

Grief is like a
cramp that never quite goes
away, a natural part of the
cycle. You’ve learned to
accept it (can even hide it) but
steady yourself—with
all that you can pull in,
everything you have in you—for the next oncoming

Hey you:
“You’re about a
thousand wishes I let
myself forget — until a
cracked-open fortune cookie

(in a Vietnamese cafe,
waiting for my vermicelli – tofu – banh mi
to-go, somewhere in the
middle of Texas)

made me
remember …

for worse, or
for better.

There is a web that
from the moon
I am but the ebb
and flow. The
eddy over someone’s hidden
carrying another’s flotsam, jetsam
a luminescent breaker
up the sand
erasing hearts,
names + names
so carefully drawn
by those long gone.

Larissa Peters: I just moved to Long Beach, CA (in the middle of a pandemic!).  This is only one of the many cities I have lived in over the last 40 years. I have a BA in English get to use it every now and then in my fundraising job for a relief organization but my true love is writing poetry.