Janet MacFadyen


Down to the baths of gold, towards the shoals
of the sea, the breakers so far and yet
so visible. Past the spray of black palm nuts
scattered like stars, past the orange
bromliad torchlights caught up
in the hair of the green palm trees.

Where are we going? Where have we been?
What is obvious to you is not obvious to me.
I lie under the lime green tree
with the lime green butterflies.
The years sift through and the past
clinks into place like a succession of scales.

We glance back, we glance at each other,
we have hands of palms
in the strange sweet world. A lizard
drapes its tail over a sunlit log. The tail
is its glory — ballast and memoir — and then
the future sweeps in with her dazzling hair.


You Might As Well Love Yourself

The sky is throwing everything it has at us:
wind, sun, hail. It’s raining nails on the roof!
Why don’t we pay attention? Are we that deaf?

Throw away your money! There is nothing to buy here
and nothing to spend except the afternoon. The sea
has not overthrown its banks. No, not yet, the sea.

Now is the time to feast on what we have: each other
and each other. Even sea ducks know where
to find haven in the foaming water.

A plane flies overhead in wind and rain, the pilot
in charge of our lives. Where is he, the pilot?
I make myself cry.

The lights of Provincetown are just over that dune.
I try my cell phone, but all I can hear is an echo:
hello, hello? Alone and not alone, all afternoon.

Janet, everything you have is right in front of you.
Be grass, plant your feet in the sand. You
might as well love yourself.

Janet MacFadyen is the author of three books of poetry, most recently In the Provincelands (Slate Roof Press, 2012). Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart. In addition to Sweet, her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Southern Poetry Review, The Atlanta Review, and Malahat. Recent work is also online at Terrain (2014 poetry contest finalist), Mead, and Nine Mile.  Janet has held a seven-month residential fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, as well as writing residencies at Cill Rialaig (Ireland), and at the Fowler and C-Scape dune shacks in Provincetown. Her favorite sweet right now is honey straight up, on a spoon.

 … return to Issue 7.3 Table of Contents.