Alice Azure


-Falls Church, Virginia
Friday! Finally five o’clock!
I grab my coat, purse and duffel bag,
quickly change from corporate to jeans,
run down the stairs to my car
and head west to Bowl America
where friends, seated at tables along ten lanes
reserved for our American Indian League,
are eating, drinking, laughing,
waiting for the gates to open.
I find my team, sit down and exhale.
A quarter century later
intent on clearing the basement,
I lug my bowling bag
out of a musty cellar corner,
carry it upstairs, begin to dust
abandoned spider eggs, speckled mold and rust.
Lifting the red ball from its cradle,
out of habit I begin to wipe old oil away.
Memories, voices, images of old friends
float out, filling the empty spaces of my house:
Obensteins and Butlers, Gonyea and the Hill brothers;
all the ironworkers in town for the weekend,
eye-balling the crowd for possible dates;
Mary and Karen planning Kristine’s baby shower;
Mitchell and I so deep in discussion
(and pitchers of beer)
that I follow him into the men’s room
until he turns me back;
that time I had to hide from Linda, the tough Ute woman
who thought I was hitting on her man;
Pete and Elizabeth, newly married, smooching at every strike;
late suppers at Hooter’s—Richard’s favorite.
So many stories, happy hours.
How can I ever let go of this crystal ball?


Just Reasonably Content

So, the garden harbors voles, ants and voracious slugs?
Red velvet trumpets still pop on vines
over the arbor. Creamsicle lilies last all summer.

So, your stamina no longer matches rampant grass?
I find someone else to mow the lawn
and you tune in to an afternoon’s game.

So, I haven’t seen the swirling purple and greens
of those dancing northern lights?
Their memories live in my jingle dress.

How places like Ferguson slashes sails
of good intentions! Still, I do my best,
helping friends and family find safe harbor.

I’ve yet to write that consummate poem
matching the vision in my head—
and wince at my Muse’s demand for a novel.

So I wait for the No of night to yield to morning’s light
when coffee tastes good,
and the daily newspaper arrives at the door.



alice_azureAlice Azure was born July 30, 1940 in North Adams, Massachusetts. Her father, Joseph Alfred Hatfield, was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, but grew up in northern Maine and New Hampshire. He was of French, Dutch, and Mi'kmaq descent. Azure's mother, Catherine Pedersen, was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, but spent her formative years in Mandal, Norway from about 1924 to 1934. She was of Norwegian descent. At the age of seven, family strife sent Azure and her siblings to live in the Cromwell Children’s Home in Connecticut. Azure lived there from 1951 to 1959. She attended the University of Iowa, earning an MA degree in urban and regional planning.