2 Poems by Esme DeVault

A Strange Day in July

this past summer in Maine
the clock stopped.

we picked blueberries
then put them back.

we swam out to the raft
and danced on it.

we built towers of rocks
knowing they would crumble.

we drank bad wine from boxes
and laughed at our own foolishness.

we saw fairy houses in the woods
and ghosts in the yellowed photographs on the wall.

we ate corn with our butter
and lobster with our bisque

the children built a campfire on the beach
and an empire was born in the sand.

and every rock we skipped
came back to us
again and
again and

Wild Card

I was a thin-skinned girl
holding on to every hurt
caressing each word
nurturing the nasty things
you said.

revenge, however
never crossed my mind
revenge would out the angst
that I could not
let go of.

a paradoxical mix
of weakness and strength
self-pity and action
was not my sword

but rumination was my shield
by endlessly repeating
your hurtful barbs
I found safety and distance
a kind of zen of the maimed.

now I understand more fully
that what you say
is almost never about me
it is you showing your hand
playing your cards out of turn
desperate to win.

now I
hold my cards close
but am unafraid to play them

every card a wild card
every turn a triumph
every game a win
every match my own.

Esme DeVault is an attorney and poet living in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and dog Charlie. She was previously an English teacher and an academic reference librarian. She has had poems published in MotherscopeJonah MagazineThe Big Windows Review, Inkling Literary Magazine and Kissing Dynamite: A Journal of PoetryOctober Hill MagazineSolum Literary JournalSpadina Literary Review, WINK: Writers in the Know Magazine, and Street Light Magazine and forthcoming in Raintown Review