Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll – Three Poems
Listening to the Left Hand
Sunset on the estuary is orange.
Our side dish for dinner is everything
dug-up – naked carrots, blind potatoes,
onions unwrapping like Magi gifts.
I’m thinking of tattooing a plus sign on my shoulder,
like a little chip.
We swim through space,
carrot peeler in hand,
earth falling, river rising. If we resolve,
dessert can be berries and cream.
Dance at Dusk
Children of the corn, my kids used to hoot,
bursting from stalking rows— I loved
that jittering dance they did:
magical quaking. This is a poem
in translation: autumn leaf
dizzy with fall— Father always wanted
more dessert than Mom would grant,
she governed like a three-legged stool:
we set the table with sterling flatware
monogrammed, Boonton melamine plastic
plates, cotton napkins laundered Mondays.
All through dinner we spun the lazy susan.
For all that:
evenfall— have at it, can of whipped cream,
go for it, gingerbread. Hello, white enamel
kitchen table, red vinyl-covered
tube-chairs, plastic placemats of the Jersey
Shore, collapsible walking stick behind the
It’s so very good
to know you at last.
Allegro molto e vivace
As when the second movement of Beethoven’s E flat sonata
doubles back, arpeggios leaping
hand to hand, echoes aslant,
or when the women of my Tai Chi
brush arms together to the right, watch the birds
fly by, then hands to the left, birds too,
or like an elegant rhyme embedded within
line three of stanza two: unexpected
harmony, as when I
curl on the couch, watch my husband’s
white head across the room, bent over taxes
while through the window fragrance of spring grass
like tang of wild grapes I picked from up the hill,
bubbling on the stove as I ready to add
pectin, their roiling blue-black
like the bruises up his leg from when he tripped
trying to lift plywood in the garage, and
can my own old legs pick up their uphill pace, stay with
these minutes running down the clock
like notes under fingers, like a rhyme in the middle
of a line, like my eyes on my husband
across the room, like the scent of wild blue, like Beethoven
lifting horn to ear, trying to hear
everything he can
Author’s Statement on Beauty
For the last 60 years I’ve been practicing the piano almost daily. I will never be a concert pianist, I no longer even accompany in church or community theatre. I simply sit down on the bench and begin again. What I’m really doing is practicing beauty: its creation, its presentation— in my own ears, if not in the rest of the world’s. What sometimes can result for me is a small but treasured step toward that elusive goal of spiritual fulfillment.
Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll is a retired piano teacher. Publications include her book Grace Only Follows, which won the National Federation of Press Women Contest; two chapbooks; poems in Poetry East, Naugatuck River Review, Connecticut River Review, Gargoyle and Hartskill Review. She also enjoys serving as reader for The Delmarva Review. More at: wendyingersoll.com.