Summer 2005

Tania Rochelle


Tania Rochelle Tania Rochelle's first book, Karaoke Funeral (Snake Nation Press, 2003), won the 2003 Violet Reed Haas Prize. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Chattahoochee Review, New York Quarterly, Iris, The Drunken Boat, and other print and online journals and anthologies. She teaches at Portfolio Center, a communication arts school in Atlanta.
Dear Jennifer,    Click to hear in real audio

Tonight, the moon
is a platter licked clean.

The smell of rice and gravy
floats down the drowsy
streets, behind me,
over my own house,
that laundry basket of need,
its rooms full of ragging
and regret.

I jog fast at first,
then an easy canter
through darkness tempered
by golden window light,
silvery TV's turned to war.

Coming back to me,
from memory's deep tunnel,
our long runs before school.

Sixteen, I'd roll my old Pontiac
out of the drive at 5 a.m.,
cruise to your house
through the fog
that followed me everywhere.

We'd run blind
into the black morning,
the only sound
our breathing, the silence
of difficult stories
we never told each other.

Around mile five,
the sun would rise,
and bacon and eggs
wafted over the sidewalk.

I liked spying
into the waking windows then,

believing what happened
in those houses was kinder, truer.
And for that hour,
so many miles behind us,
our whole adult lives ahead,
I'd feel the power
of my will like a choice

opening into a future
without my father,
without a man
who couldn't spare
the simple mercy of a smile.

In those days, the first
yellow ribbons
in every yard wished back
the hostages from Iran.
Now, our troops in Iraq,
each porch I pass flies
the American flag.

Twenty-five years, old friend,
nothing has changed.



Tania Rochelle: Poetry
Copyright © 2005 The Cortland Review Issue 29The Cortland Review