Helen Sokolsky has taught Special Education for over twenty-five years in the New York City Board of Education. She and her husband presently live in New York and now that she has retired, they also spend time in Otis, MA where Helen is actively involved in the Berkshire Women Writers Group. Some of her poems have appeared in the following magazines: Poet Lore, Poetry Canada Review, The Poetry Review, California Poetry Quarterly, Confrontation Magazine, The Wind Literary Journal and Poem.
All Poems © Helen Sokolsky
It takes a gesture
a simple gesture
like a robin
brushing its feathers against your hand
from the surrounding amber
in the middle of nowhere
a pledge in plain clothes
asking for nothing
knowing no two rooms
are ever exactly the same
that will startle the abandoned air
into a slow movement
and the mailboxes rearranged
will edge closer to one another
that will surface
before the night runs out of stars
that even in our aloneness
we are not always alone.
There is something about the woman
I can't turn away from
the shapeless figure bedded down in rags
pushing her way through the crowded streets
then making an abrupt turn as she moves
to stake her claim.
Poised, as if she had been staged
in the Mad Lucia
the staccato voice punctures
the heavy greyness that devours the city
puffed like white mounds of clouds
framed by rebellious tangles of auburn
a face so frozen in time
and I call to someone who isn't there.
Were I to lift a bookmark from its place
a young girl would be seated at an old piano
fingers moving over halting scales
as she angles herself into the sole melody
that gives her definition.
When was it that she began to disturb the house
what was she trying to tell them
when she took the mirrors off all the walls
her words echoing like scattered shards
later to cause a gridlock among the birds.
The beginning of hunger
was in that bag she lined with stories
packed tighter than a clenched fist.
Her family never got used to her wanderings
or when she would return barefoot
her eyes clouded by some strange horizon.
Now she is barely audible
but for the ebb of her songs saddest notes
another one of the city's lost inventories.
I take a detour home, rewind a clock,
look for a misplaced photo.