Gleanings: Cindy Vandersluis

This poem was originally published in Seattle Magazine in a slightly different format and is reprinted here with the author's permission.
Photo credit: Cindy Vandersluis

Play Until the Last Light

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time
since World War II
but my neighbor and his young son
set up their small net in an alley
and batter the ball
while the sun sets and fog settles.

Their voices echo as my white dog illuminates the way
on a twilight walk through empty streets. The small hardware store
will open tomorrow, selling essentials: tools, toys, and feed
for the sheep, goats and horses.

Cherry blossoms glow soft like cotton candy
and daffodils extend their golden cups in the purest of offerings.

Along the beach, the Sound rolls on,
bringing life ashore then reclaiming it
in the endless cycle of the Salish Sea.
Chief Sealth walked these shores,
blessed the towering trees, home to Bald Eagle and Crow.
What sorrows did he know and survive?

It’s coming back to me now, this feeling of waiting -
for the test results,
the baby’s birth,
my Father’s last breath.

In between and unknown, the ringing of the
telephone bringing news,
bringing news
good or bad.
Good or bad, we must answer.

These moments come and will again.
Can I suspend the longing to know, and simply be?
I watch the hail fall,
tenderly it scatters among the primrose
leaving them still standing.

--Cindy Vandersluis
April 2020