Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
  • Home
  • About
  • Archive
  • Bio Notes
  • Bookshelf
  • Contents
  • Submit
SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Love Song with Flip Chart and Pointer

by Molly Larson Cook

Here is the place it began.
If you look to the right in this drawing,
there in the corner,
you’ll see the waterfall.
Forgive me.
I am clumsy with the brush, the pen,
the crayons.
The waterfall looks like an elephant, I know,
but perhaps you’ll recognize it.
The waterfall where we began.

Just to the left, near the center of the page,
is the bridge.
You can’t see the old man who rested
on the bridge
but you might recall that he was there
and smiled as we passed by.

Here on the chart I have plotted out
the progress of our venture.
First we have the moderately steep climb
from the waterfall and bridge
to the two weeks we spent in Tucson
after which there was a predictable decline.

You wanted Italy, I know, but looking here
at the next page where I’ve charted the relevant
financial data, you can clearly see that
Italy was not possible that year.
The real downturn had not begun by then
But if you look at the graph you can begin to note
its progress.

Here is Tucson, as you see,
here is the engagement party and here,
just before the promised trip to Florence
the line continues up.
after the long and tedious disagreement over the lost luggage
and the flirtatious waitress in that small café,
the line drops sharply and then drops again
		beyond the point of recovery and finally
off the chart.

In closing, I would like to say
I never meant to have it end like this.
I always thought a major upturn
			from some unforeseen conditions
would give us one last chance.
But many a fool and her heart
have been parted
by such optimistic speculation.

I have included here another drawing, but even if I squint,
I’m sorry, I no longer recognize it.

I believe it might be either
my clumsy attempt at a map of our bankrupt affair or—wait—
perhaps it is Orion in the night sky
over the PonteVecchio.


—Grand Prize Winner ($1,000 cash prize) in the competition for the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2016, and first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17 (Garden Oak Press, February 2017); appears here with permissions from both poet and publisher.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Molly Larson Cook

is an award-winning novelist, poet, playwright, and writing coach now based in San Diego. She holds an M.A degree in English/Creative Writing and did graduate work in linguistics, theatre, and visual art in the Northwest, Maine, and Manhattan. She received the Dibner Fellowship for Fiction in Maine, and was a Fellow at the Fishtrap Writers Conference where she worked with poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Cook has taught writing and literature workshops and classes in universities on both coasts and privately with classes for adult writers at her Skylark Writing Studio on Whidbey Island, Washington. She blogs about jazz and art at:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury