Claire Hellar

Two Poems

Dear Peter

I came home tired from China. You were a sudden warmth on a violet doorstep – Present and tender, with a smudge of laughter. Closer than calluses, you sway me and I fall. Mornings crispy with toast and easy with salt-laughter. I had made of you someone complex. Someone who could swim among the envelopes. Citrus home everywhere, iridescent, a lemon peel strung out on a line. I'm turning bitter, incandescent and blind. Peter – does the world hold you steady? Ordinary but bright like a child’s puzzle. Once you held an orange to my cheek. I fled to sea.

What did you want me to say

about art curbed hunger, translucent water- color, paperlanterns floating on the ceiling, second star to the right straight on till morning pickles when you are hungry and thirsty and want salt, clams in cold butter where water is, but (isn’t, chiaroscuro) the first rain on a summery coastal day, an achring of aches — luminous where water isn’t

Claire Hellar grew up on a tropical island, moves often, and paints her apartments teal. Her work has been published in Cellpoems, Blue Fifth Review, and Linebreak.