Kiss – Carolyn Martin

Why did people do that with their two faces?
– James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

It occurred to me this morning
as you drove away
that we kissed good-bye twice.

Once was no surprise.
We agree gas leaks, tsunamis,
bullets, bombs, or rides down
any street could lead to eternity,
so we vow one face-to-face.

But two? Maybe we were making up
for broken plates and slammed  doors,
for every time silence had the right of way
and we couldn’t stop our tongues.

Whatever the wherefore or why,
before I drive downtown tonight to hear
a famous author read from her memoir,
let’s kiss twice and twice again.
Then let’s plot to hide dozens more
around the house – behind
the coffee pot and navy couch,
in piles of handmade cards littered on my desk,
in baskets of blacks and whites on the closet floor.

Let’s scatter a few beneath the maple tree
where our feral cat keeps Buddha company
and plant some especially sweet
and deep beside gardenias and mums.
Maybe piles along the backyard fence?
Our squirrels could use some tendering.

These will, I suspect, sustain the days
I hit the road before you’re out of bed
or you head off to choir or tai chi
before I wind my way back home.

DSC06720 - Version 2Since retiring from forty years in the academic and business worlds, Carolyn Martin has adopted a Spanish proverb to serve as her daily mantra: “It is beautiful to do nothing and rest afterwards.” “Doing nothing” includes gardening, writing, traveling, playing with friends, and taking hundreds of photographs. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications throughout the US and UK and her second collection, The Way a Woman Knows, was released in 2015 by The Poetry Box ( Currently, she is working on two chapbooks which may – or not – become complete books when they grow up.