February Poems

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February Poems
Photo: Nicole Freezer Rubens

Love

I won’t count the ways
They are too numerous
After trying to avoid the subject for too long
Love is not perfect
It sometimes involves arguments
It is sometimes hateful
But it is enduring
Nothing can erase it
Nor diminish its power
Not time
Not distance
Not ever

~ Stephanie Sloane, author of Dear Me: Poems of Loss, Grief, and Hope in New York’s Darkest Days

*****

Approaching Valentine’s Day

Not meant only for romantic love
What about all the others we love?
Those family and friends
Who stand by us
Through it all
And help us navigate
They are worth celebrating
On Valentine’s Day
And every other day

~ Stephanie Sloane, author of Dear Me: Poems of Loss, Grief, and Hope in New York’s Darkest Days

*****

Every Day is Valentine’s Day

Never expected you to come into my life
Not the expecting type, more the accepting type
We were not looking but we found each other
Sharing dreams on the Belt Parkway
Many have come true
New York City sprinkled her magic around us
Gently and quietly something special started
Everything just fell into place nice and easy
Stars sparkled and realigned
You understand me better than I do myself
You still do
We jumped hurdles and healed broken hearts
Still working on those in progress
No matter what, no matter when, no matter who
We climb mountains slowly and steadily
Every moment for the rest of my days
Whispers and hugs will calm the tears in the middle of the night
It always ends up better not just alright
Every day is Valentine’s day because you are my best friend the
and the love of my life

~Madlyn Epstein Steinhart, author of Put Your Boots on and Dance in the Rain

*****

February 2021

My kitchen has 2 days left to its lifespan.
On Election Day,
which was also my birthday,
all hell broke loose
in the apartment above me
when a brand new faulty plumbing part
simply gave out.
It split in 2,
forcing the mighty copper part
to burst through a wall
and unleashed water
raining down hard through my ceiling
halogen lights
for an entire hour.
My friends immediately
sent over 4 pints
of Van Leeuwen ice cream.
Now I am packing up everything I own
and excavating through layers
of the darkest gray city dust,
to go through
the forgotten history
stored under my king size bed.
Not only am I dumping
charcoal nudes
I drew in high school,
my daughter’s red plastic Barbie Beetle car
and Doug’s tax return from 1983,
I am cleaning up after a devastating year.
The extra weight of 2020
still bears down on us all.
Tomorrow masked movers will come
and pack up
that which survived the purge.
Doug and I will move temporarily
into a building on the block
I grew up on.
In fact, several windows perfectly frame
that tall, terraced building
made famous on TV
when The Jeffersons broke new ground
and moved on up.
I will buy groceries for 2 people.
We will live alone again
for the first time
since the night we became parents.
My nest is empty at last.
After 10 months
of sleeping in the same bed every night
and staring at the same walls and floors,
both before and after
they buckled and remained damaged,
I am happy to go anywhere.
On Monday
a fever-free construction crew
will meet all Covid requirements
and demolish
the old engineered wood floors
that supported us
for more than 2 decades,
as we grew into a family of 5.
The kitchen that saw spilled milk,
burnt baked cookies,
so much broken glass
and 3 months straight of family dinners
during lockdown,
will be razed
in a mere day or 2.
I get the luxury
to recreate.
We plan.
We make changes.
We rebuild.
We refresh.
We replace.
We improve.
We hope to return in the spring.
We hope to be vaccinated.
We hope to go to Julia’s college graduation.
We know
we will eventually come home
and start the next chapter
of the newest collective roaring ‘20s,
and I should have
much more shelf space
for all that the future
bestows on me.

~ Nicole Freezer Rubens, author of The Long Pause and the Short Breath…Poems & Photos & Reflections on New York City’s Pandemic

*****

Experience Is the Teacher

I have come to this conclusion: it is time to give back at this age,
I am old enough to have turned another page,
To share what I've learned for yet another stage,
In this short, last quarter of my life.
Where did all the time go, I always ask,
As I come to the end of yet another day's task.
It has slipped by so quickly I hardly noticed.
Now's the time to share what I've learned,
Or where is the pleasure of that which I've earned?
The wisdom, the experience must now be taught,
So that mistakes are avoided, the student not caught,
In a web of issues to be avoided, not fought.
This comes with showing up, lessons learned,
I wish to pass on, the knowledge confirmed,
Through mistakes, corrections, coming out of defeat,
With head held up high, standing on two feet,
Steady on the ground, hearing a strong heart beat,
Is there a student ready to hear what I teach?
It would give me much pleasure to outreach,
That person willing to embrace,
All I have to give, to share and face,
The fact, that this will be my precious gift.
To whom shall I give it to?
That is the question I ask of you.
Are you facing this dilemma too?
Tell me, please, your point of view.
I am listening.

~Carol Ostrow, author of Poems from My Pandemic Pen

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