Valentines, 2 poems

By Turning

Your post card came with this afternoon’s snow:

two pelicans beak to beak form a valentine that says

Love And Kisses From Florida.      

Remember when I pulled up a shell

and out popped a hermit crab to announce your love

of me, fellow floater on the gentle surging of waves?

We were startled to find ourselves exposed in the sun

waving our segmented limbs in awkward gestures of love.

Remember when you skated ahead with Izzy and Sal

suddenly you yelled Help I Can’t Stop?           

                  How I raced, skates zipping

on the new pavement, grabbed the handle, and slalom-

turned us through linked half moons to a halt?

Oh, you laughed, us both panting,

I forgot, I forgot for one quick moment how to stop.

By turning, I said, by turning we slow down.

By turning to one another, beak to beak, two halves of a paper heart

that match because they were cut, so long ago, from

the same piece of folded red paper. 


A girl named Bambi
left a heart-shaped box of chocolates
in my locker in sixth grade.

The photo of the nurse and the sailor
on V-J Day by Albert Eisenstaedt,
the woman dressed all in white
and arched like a crescent moon.

Eve Ensler with black bangs,
black dress and bright red lips.

Dating tips for Conservatives:
Take her to a gun range.
Shooting some rounds with your girlfriend
is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Cartoon caption:
If I can’t buy you dinner,
at least let me pay you for sex later.

Eros with arrows,
again with the shooting.

(And one more that I feel belongs here, all of these written and posted in prior winters)

Our Volition Was In Not Turning*

Scraps of paper
lifted on a careless wind,
these are my verses tonight.
You came to me so –

the familiar face on the
peeling wheat-paste poster
blown across the square,
come alive at my feet,

deft motion of fate’s blind impulse.
This wind was not of our doing.
Our volition was in not turning,
in being that shape in the flow.

Take my hand, you said,
step with me into this landscape,
let us tumble like leaves, let us curl
like tendrilled smoke.

It is the same with this poem –
it found me on a windy night,
and when I did not turn away,
that was the beginning of love.

*was published in February 2010 at


About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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2 Responses to Valentines, 2 poems

  1. warmginger says:

    Beautiful and funny. I love the movement in By Turning.

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