Cycling, surfing clouds of air

Crossing over somewhere

Lost voice in time. Rushed.

Hushed waters. Sun on chrome.

Next stop? Her words held close.

Carefully pondered as beach pebbles

Against a thirsty landscape. She said,

Two friends = Two happy people.

True. So, what was holding him back?

He knew. He couldn’t say. Limitations

Her in her chair, for one.  Gentle. Tough

Not for a second could he get away easy

Because it seemed she was walking to him.

Facing Everest. Waiting. Listening.

While he’d lost his last ounce of courage

Long ago. Could make a man cry

Which is why he knew he loved her

And let her know. Possibilities.

©2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas – Hugo & Nancy

Opening Lines

Part of the miracle
And wonder of finding Nancy
Had been trusting his intuition.
Leaping off a cliff in blind faith.
Believing life could fall back
Float into place at last. Erase ‘past’.
Disappointments. He knew she knew.
Somehow. Seeing into his soul

Connecting, listening. Knowing.
Then parting. He promised to call.
Felt soft eyes burning through him
Knowing. It was most unlikely.

Guessing he was a man of rainy seasons
Roads of rhetoric. Storm-washed. Familiar.
All about reality checks and balances.
Nothing to do with her, he reasoned.
Or her inability to walk and run.

No. Something scarier. Knowing.
Even in that chair she’d soared
Had touched freedom and heights.
That her spirit kept pace with grace.
Something beyond him. Beyond the dark.

A peace that scared him half to death
But finally, when he’d dug up nerve.
And called the # on her business card
Dug out of the back of a desk drawer
# disconnected. Served him right.
Ahhh, yes.  He’d done it again.

Taken too much time. Analyzing.
Perfecting another flimsy house of cards.
Rebuilding a repertoire of opening lines
All the world a stage. And no one to talk to.

©2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas – Hugo & Nancy

Nancy’s Footsteps


First impulse. He wanted to run
Race out the door. Saw her wheelchair

Then her signature lime green
Nancy. He wanted to leave

Caught a light in her eyes
That reeled him in. Squirming
A fish caught in a net

Her laugh floated. Put him at ease
Wanted to hear his story
And then he asked about hers
Late dinner. Way past eight
Too late. For theatre tickets

But he wanted to know. Hear
How she’d grown up on the east side
As a teen. Out on the streets
One day darkness took her. Down
And later, light. Woke her up
In a hospital. Unable to walk

Simple story. Nothing religious.
Darkness. Tears. Light. Joy.

Told him the Lord was the first One
To truly love her. Just as she was

And she lit up then. Like Times Square.
Hugo had nothing to say. Shifted. Stood

A little too much food for thought
He was comfy with ‘as is’
Preconceived whatchamacallit
Ideas, ideals, notions, ‘same-old’
Nice person. She’d got him thinking
About stuff. Losing baggage.
Throwing it out the window

A lady good at losing luggage
She ought to know what he felt
He left her there. Felt her smile

Blazing behind him like footsteps
As if she’d walked this way before

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Hugo & Nancy

Lost Luggage


They connected as easily
And unassumingly as a blue wave
Which had bobbed him along
On an airtight rubber raft
As he dreamed of sailing
South Pacific. Until he got tangled
Held hostage by a red buoy
Something inflatable…
Upon closer inspection
On a flat tidal beach
It was rather fine luggage
Swiss. Totally waterproof
Locked. Plastic tag with a name
Nondescript. Nancy J. McNee
A blurred street address
Somewhere in Poughkeepsie, NY
Which he deciphered, then wrote…

Returning your luggage…
Found at sea…

Puzzling over it all awhile
He hoped Nancy J. ‘whoever’
Was safely home. And forgot her.
Until her small parcel arrived
A glass paperweight
‘Schooner under glass’
She had written neatly
How had she guessed?
Tagged him for a dreamer
Nancy J. ‘Mc-whatever’
Seemed to know a lot more
Than most people did of him
She urged him not to worry
(As though he had been…)
Assuring him she was quite well
As was her indestructible red luggage
Which had gone astray months ago
On the way to Penn Station

‘I’ve never been to sea’

The back and forth began
A few little things in the mail
He wasn’t exactly imaginative
With words or gifts. Hoped she liked
A paperweight with two butterflies
And French words, under glass

‘réservé  à deux’

It must have meant something
She returned him two tickets
For a play somewhere Off Broadway
In late May. On the ‘off chance’
She suggested he might want to go
Assuming he was available

Nothing about being ‘interested’
Or willing. He laughed.
And began to imagine her
No social media. She insisted
Age. No matter. She dismissed
’40 is the new 50…isn’t it?’
And asked him to keep an eye out
For a woman with a distinctive air
Of sunshine. Wearing lime green

You will know me. I am buoyant.

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Hugo & Nancy J.

Il Regalo


Surf pounding at his limbs
Throwing him on strange shores
Oceans drumming inside of him
Too wide to cross. Seeing Eliana.

On the road, waiting for him
Almond eyes. Russet hair
A half moon smile he loved
He reached out. But it wasn’t her

Eravamo gemelli…

We were twins, she explained
Elizabetta. An identical sister
A revealer of Eliana’s sorrows
A child left behind. Eliana gone forever
Prompting Elizabetta to write to him

The year after Eliana died
il documento ufficio, in her hand
Naming Ilario a benefactor

She had left him…un regalo…a gift
A small cantina. A patch of land
Nothing magnifico, a fattoria
Elizabetta paused. Saw his disbelief
The anguish tearing him apart
Eliana, who had been there for him
And who had needed him. Now this
A land forgotten. A love lost

Elizabetta. Silent. Wondering
Would he stay…for the bambina?
For the girl. Eliana’s daughter.
No answer. No words. He left
And returned one evening. A month later
Elizabetta’s eyes, Eliana’s asking
Will you stay…?

i sarà…

When he and Elizabetta married
It was a quiet wedding. Famiglia.
Followed by a desire to begin again
A new home. A villa near Orvieto
They agreed. The child, Fiorenza happy
And jumping up and down with questions

Was this my mama’s gift?

sì piccolo.

Il regalo… Eliana’s gift.

un nuovo inizio
A new beginning.

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Ilario & Eliana