Eyes light up, face relaxes,

arms’ arc opens wide

as her hands dance in step

with mystery words leaving her lips.

The din! Sequestered in a small space,

chattering voices compete for comprehension.

Drowned in the clamor, my wife’s tale

an enigma to me. Her onetime classmate                           

reads her lips, recalls the story, grins.                                                                    


Lilt in her voice, spot-on word choice

reveal the revelry sparked in her soul

whenever it’s time for a tale to be told.

For all these married years I’ve marveled

as shy scholar steps aside, seasoned storyteller

takes the stage. But tonight, amidst cacophony,

lilt and lyrics are lost to me. It’s as if I’m in                                  

a movie house taking in a silent flick,                                             

one with no captions beneath the action.


I admire the star as she mimes the story.

There’s magic in the mime:  no details

of plot distract--the moment’s joy is its own.                                

What is this winsome force that overtakes

my Valerie?  The spell summoned by memory,                                         

transitory transport to youthful times?                 

Adrenalin stirred by the swirling crowd?


Or is the most entrancing spirit

the charm that’s fallen on me?



Michael Pennanen

A retired Protestant minister, Michael Pennanen has pastored several congregations and served as a hospice chaplain. He has had liturgical materials published in worship resource books and also a poem in Heart of Flesh; another will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Windhover.

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