Two Poems

by Ila Seltzer


The Gear

1.  To Wear

Shirt and shorts that breathe
all quick drying.
A hat.

Sandals that can get soaking wet and
obediently drain.

2.  To Bring

Insect repellant to thickly apply
without concern
for the environment or health.

3.  To Use

Custom roof racks for the car,
straps, bungee cords and buckles.

A kayak
the approximate length of an alligator.
A paddle.

4.  Other

Each piece is
accumulated and loved
for the anticipated adventures
of getting lost
of losing a paddle
of dying from thirst
of drowning
of being bitten
of being eaten.

Each piece is
felt and stroked
folded and unfolded
opened and closed
waved in the air
sat in
wrapped in
surrounded by
and longed for.

Getting There

on my sidewalk.
I look west
between the sky
and my shoes
over flat miles of concrete
over marsh sawgrass mangrove islands.

South Dixie Highway

On six lanes
white asphalt heat,
the turnpike a tributary.

On four lanes
a sideshow of plate glass,
parking lots stretched wide.

On two lanes
a palmetto bush with crisp brown spikes,
a root beer stand.

Through Homestead
Leisure City
Florida City.

Past acres of spindly pine trees
all broken in half
in the same direction

in my kayak.
I look east
between the sky
and the bay
over marsh sawgrass mangrove islands,
over flat miles of concrete.

Coot Bay

I emerge from a dark tunnel.
sky and water are uniform
gray, low mangroves
are unmovable.

The coots are black speckles on the water.

A small disturbance
across the bay,
two dolphins
their wakes

A turn of the paddle
moves the gently
swaying body
of the kayak

I push the bay behind me
with each stroke
palms gripping
bow parting


a curious eye,
two blunt noses,
two spouting sprays of water
and gone.

It Can't Be Fixed

It was our habit every Valentine's Day
to share a box of chocolates,
sitting on the couch arguing over who gets what.
And I am doling out the chocolates one by one. His family and mine
would share the leftovers.

It was a day like any other
Something wrong
Go get it fixed
Like we've done so many times before.

Now I realize I can eat all the chocolates without argument. I pick one up,
turn it around and put it back down.

By the time I parked the car they already had him
out of his clothes and hooked up.
Everything seemed to be the same.
Everything they did.

In the meantime, yesterday, we were sharing the chocolates, completely oblivious,
concentrating only on what was left.

Ila Seltzer is a sculptor and a musician who has been writing poetry for most of her life. Recently she has taken a serious interest in the creative process of writing poetry and it has become her main vehicle of creative expression.

About Everglades—This poem expresses the need to escape from a difficult, disappointing life to the nourishing quiet and peace found in the wilderness. It is about dreaming and the joy of achieving the dream.

About It Can’t Be Fixed—This poem expresses a deeply personal event in my life. It is more about evoking emotions in the reader than about telling a story. One of the ways it does this is by using the device of going back and forth in time.