Sisyphean Lover

Dawn Terpstra

You are seldom handsome or elegant

after we’ve had a go at it,

daylight dries our ecstatic drips and dabs. 


I breathe deep before caressing 

your rough form, singing your 

unvoiced self, no matter the rags 

or finery tailored for your debut.


You’ve provoked this solo show, 

keeping dreams and sleep from my bed 

with your urgency. Your breath

hot on my neck when morning colors 

the window. Your clever curiosity feeds 

a mind hungry behind a windshield 

driving dreamlike along a divided highway, 

your amorphous face an idea for a destination.


Sometimes you’re a bastard, 

never holding me when I writhe with sobs, 

or toweling me dry when I dive for words 

lodged between mossy bricks in the soul’s deep well. 


When I see your eyes, I forgive you, 

while seeking a synonym for pain in the ass.


I make you real in the quiet hours,

sculpt your form and substance 

from the cool clay of choke and churn,

folding in the absent-ordinary,

truth-in-a-twist, mouth-music.


For days I fuss over you, 

turning your face to new light,

brushing back lines, shaving stray words, 

schooling your arms to open for others.


Yet sometimes, you win.


What audience exists for one so loved,

running barefoot into the tall grass?

Dawn Sly-Terpstra is pursuing her lifelong passion of writing poetry, short fiction and non-fiction. She values the mentorship she finds from the poets of Omega and Sisyphean Writers. With masters degrees in both anthropology and family studies, she enjoys discoveries of culture, magic, and family wherever she travels. With deep roots in her home state of Iowa, she is inspired by connections to the natural world. Her work appears in Lyrical Iowa, Haiku Journal and in the upcoming edition of Cathexis Northwest Press. She has spent a career in communications and marketing and currently leads a corporate communications team.