Charlie Rossiter

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I Like It When Things Stand For Something

A ring from Taos on my right hand,
a ring from Santa Fe on my left.
The turquoise teardrop earring in my left ear,
a gift from a friend who lost the other one.
I think of her when I see it in the mirror,Artwork by Gene McCormick
the same way the rings remind me
of New Mexico. I like it
when things stand for something,
like the cowboy hat from Wyoming,
the Pendleton blanket we sleep under
from the factory in Oregon,
the Yellowstone shirt I wore
to keep warm in the campground morning,
the wool knit hat from Canada,
Alberta to be precise. My wardrobe
is like a scrapbook. You wouldn’t know it
to see me, but I’m swathed in memories.
For a while even my underwear was a story
from a road trip when I was too lazy
to wash clothes and bought a six pack
of a brand I don’t usually wear
at a store where I don’t usually shop
because they were the cheapest I could find.

One More Reason I Loved Her

I was lonely and called her—
please come over.
She said it's awfully late but all right,
I'll get Sheila to drive me.
Before long she was at the door.
It was raining hard. She was in sandals
and her long, dark raincoat.
Come in I said. Without a word
she took a step, dropped the raincoat
and stood there, stock still
in the lamplight
like a Rodin sculpture,
like Venus on the half-shell,
naked as the day she was born.


Charlie Rossiter, NEA Fellowship recipient and four-time Pushcart Prize
nominee, hosts the audio website He is the author of
four books of poetry and numerous chapbooks and has led workshops all over the country. His poetry has been featured on NPR, at R. Dodge Poetry
Festival in NJ, and the Chicago Blues Festival. He is also editor of the
anthology In The Spirit of T'ao Ch'ien. His newest collection is Cold
Mountain 2000: Han Shan in the City
, (Foothills Publishing., 2014).