Foxes and Magnolias

Poetry for keepsakes, for longing, for letting go.

Ed Templeton

You take pictures in the way

that Bukowski writes-

a raw grayscale sculpting

the ugly in everything that is beautiful,

and the opposite too-

the roses and the moths.



As far as I know, you never took a photo of sun

sliding over almost flawless skin on bare thighs

and dog shit drying and graying and crumbling in the heat

by her side

as the flies lope over it for breakfast.

He never wrote about it.

But in some ways, this is what you both do.


How do I explain this better?

You make everything real.

You make me want to love.


There is disillusion in your film,

in his words.

There is no fear in being ugly-

there wouldn’t be art

without it.



The dead moths and dust on windowsills,

the pink rosa moschatas in the spring and fall.



I wrote you to tell you this

and you thanked me.

But I was thanking you.

From Time to Time

Can you hear me calling on the heart phone?

Picking heart strings

like a midnight banjo.


We were walking down State Street

late at night

after the train had been delayed,

after staring down the empty tunnel,

trying to speak at times,

but we couldn’t, really,

so we just listened to the wind funnel through.


Eventually, the train shook us over the tracks

for three stops north

as we tried to hold ourselves solid.


So, on State Street,

we walked hand in hand

as though to say the words we didn’t have,

and then finally, one of us,

or both of us

said that we’re both broken, still,

from before the time we met.


I told you I couldn’t

take care of you.


Something about the rain today

makes the way I let go of your hand

hurt more than it did yesterday.


I can feel your fingers falling away from me,


I can’t keep holding them

for you.

When We Get This Far

I already know how I’d want you to propose to me,
years from now- when we get this far.
You’d tie a scarf over my eyes,
lead me through a door, up a flight of stairs-
slowly, because you wouldn’t be nervous,
because I don’t make you nervous,
because you know I’d say yes.

You would lift me over the edge of a bathtub,
put me in.
You’d get in.
There wouldn’t be any water in the tub,
just us- fully clothed.
I’m not sure if it would be night or day,
it wouldn’t matter.
The room would be filled with flowers and candles
and you’d have bluegrass playing.

You’d untie the scarf from over my eyes,
hold both my hands in both of yours
and ask if I knew where we were.
It would be the bathtub we had our first date in-
when we snuck into a house under construction
and sat in that a bathtub on the top floor for an hour or two,
just talking.

The house would be fully built by then,
fully lived in-
you’d speak to them days before, weeks before
and you’d be so sweet,
as you always are,
that they would want to help arrange the flowers,
clean the tub.

You’d take out a ring-
not a traditional one,
nothing too expensive,
but carefully chosen.
And then you’d ask me somehow-
the words aren’t important,
but I know you would have gone over a thousand ways
as to how to word it
for me.

I’d probably be crying by now,
if not already-
smiling, nodding,
wanting to marry you.

Without Words

You used to tap me three times
as though to say the words I love you-
sometimes pressing harder
or longer
on the I
or the love
or the you.
Or all of them.
I'm still unsure if you loved me, really.
If you knew what love meant.

Midday in April

For two afternoons,
we laid in bed,
waking from sleep
and waking and sleeping again.
I wrapped myself around you,
blue sheets and the comforter tangled between our legs-
mine paler than yours,
yours longer.

You said, “I feel like something big is happening.”
It is.


Your Things and Mine

I kept my toothbrush at your house this morning
just laying flat on the ledge of sink
behind the faucet
because I wasn’t sure where to keep my things-
I wanted to claim a space for me
next to you
and your things.

You left a loaf of bread here-
(organic, whole wheat)
from when we decided to rush to the store
to make late night grilled cheeses.
I was going to bring the bread to you yesterday,
but you said to keep it here
for when you were back again.

I like buying groceries with you-
holding hands
and in the other: gourmet cheeses, flowers-

slowing time with you
in the checkout line.

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