Honorable Mention Poetry: "Poem about the Weather"

by Andrei Guruianu

This morning’s letter read over tea and toast with jam
was fat with bank transaction pages, but nothing new.

Soon the belt would have to inch just one notch closer,
a coiled snake at rest, until one end meets opposite end

leaving little room for music, for parties, cheap bottles
of cabernet draining deep red to curved glass bottom green.

Tonight, we’re still wearing the same thin sweaters
that we slipped on earlier for the first time this year —

a brisk reminder of approaching fall
and the uncertainty that comes with a shift in season.

We’re both thinking what our smiles hide from friends —
that together we’ve lived through many other letters,

through the time your best friend miscarried, or your sister
was diagnosed with cancer before she turned eighteen.

There were those, and others, and more will surely come.
Until then, a few nights of laughter remain while watching fire

lick round sides of a terra cotta bowl and greedy flicks
of hot tongue crackle through piles of wet wood.

There is time at least for that, and for stories that leap careless
through smoke, washing over cheeks like an excuse for tears.

“This poem was inspired by our tendencies to drown our misfortunes in day-to-day rituals, to hide our sorrow behind smiles that at least give the illusion of normalcy. Without such coping mechanisms it would be too easy to be paralyzed by the many hardships one endures in the course of a lifetime.”

—Andrei Guruianu