As we enter 2013, let us consider contentment and the sources thereof.  Here, the sure voice of Francesca Bell reminds us of the depth of joy and security to be found in the familiar.  This California poet is herself a source—of reliably dazzling insight and poetic delight.  Keep watch for her here in the coming year and in the wider world of poetry as well.



The morning after we make
our long-married love,
I make the bed laughing.
The mattress lists
to one side. Books
are scattered on the floor.
The sheets look
like the sheets
of the desperate.

We’ve been together
one half my life now.
My hips are going
and must be held
just so. Your knees ache
if you’re on them
too long. We must
be careful or injured.
Yet desire throbs
like a busy signal,

and I find myself afraid
of familiarity’s passion.
It isn’t at all
what I expected.
Really, I thought new love
was a lake, doomed to drought.
I did not know it was an ocean
we entered, that would deepen
as we went into a body of water
so vast we cannot see its end.

Reprinted with permission of the poet. “Familiarity” first appeared in The Chattahoochee Review.


Francesca BellFrancesca Bell has published poems in numerous journals, including Willow Springs, Passages North, North American Review, CALYX, 5 AM, and The Sun. Three of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  The full-length manuscript of her first book was one of the finalists in The Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award contest in 2012 and is currently a semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Poetry Prize contest. Also to her credit are three luminous and eccentric children, a half-trained beagle, and some very nice blackberry jam.

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  • April Ossmann January 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Wonderful poem, wonderful poet!

  • patricia yarberry allen January 6, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for this beautiful ode to continued sexual passion in a long relationship. You have expressed what so many of us know but may have forgetten to cherish. I will always remember, ” I thought new love was a lake, doomed to drought….”