Thursday, November 2, 2017

What Is This Thing Called Love?

The Smitheys
a proper couple
grown round together
often spoke for each other.
Or, conversely
lips pressed, hands folded
Mrs. Smithey
would make a display
of generous silence.
They were well liked.
She for an encompassing smile
he for market tips and jokes.
Happiest apart
they rarely parted.
Until one evening
while telling one of her stories
he choked on a fig and died.
Surprised and angry
she was overwhelmed.
The unfairness of it.
After years of practicing their routine
she was made to start over.
Without him
her smile had no direction
her lips no story to tell
her nerves
no place to land.

Bridget Harwell

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Feet tangled in sheets
sun blazing through the window
my sister sleeps beside me
undisturbed by my staring.
She has a new silhouette.
Longer and her hip has rounded.
That curve is taking her away
to places I cannot go.
I slide my hands down
my flat frame of bones and ridges
find comfort in straight lines.
But only for a moment.
Bodies change.
They do not last.
I cannot move past
this first brush with mortality.
I elbow my sister.
"Wake up," I shout.

Bridget Harwell

Thursday, June 8, 2017


At six I took possession
of a dresser drawer
given to me by my mother.
Mine, all mine
no sister or brother could touch it.
Nicely folded, I put within
two dresses and a sweater
a stolen marble
The Little Lame Prince
and two dimes tucked under.
I thought of other things to fill the drawer
but never did.
Tidy and space in a family of eight are exotic.
Too well my mother knew this.
Her gift to me of privacy ...
a room of my own.

Bridget Harwell

Monday, June 5, 2017


Never have I learned
how to say good-bye
though I've had years of practice.

People leave so many things behind.
This and that get stored in the heart
until the time arrives for sorting.

Bridget Harwell

Thursday, May 18, 2017


No splendor of waterfall
no majesty of mountain
no mystery of gully
no secrets of a dark wood.
You do not take my breath away
stop my heart
sting me with beauty.
Modest landscape
you suit this life of mine.
Easy, slow rise
gentle decline
I would be a green hill
against a blue sky.

Bridget Harwell

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mrs. Miller Has Grown Tired

Books scattered here and there
no longer seem like friends to visit.
Perfume bottles, scarves draped on chairs,
little works of art from foreign places.
Gifts from Mr. Miller's travels
treasured in the moment,
now hardly seen among the clutter.

Unprompted memories,
that's what Mrs. Miller
prefers these days.
Like a mild breeze
they float through her mind.
Lately, she has returned to Gilberry Lane.
Felt again the sticky sun on her face,
her strong legs running,
hair whipping, heart fit to burst.
Then home to bed
and deep,deep sleep
as if dropped into a well.

Bridget Harwell