Pat Valdata

Woman with Cataracts

At first she doesn’t notice
….the blurred lines, that
….….urine-toned tint.

She thinks her eyes are
….just tired. She needs
….….new glasses.

She gets new glasses. Now
….she notices. But, she thinks,
….….only old people

Get cataracts. Her baby blues
….are still clear. She isn’t
….….exactly old old.

She can still touch her toes.
….She makes great meat loaf,
….….though she squints

At old recipes, at street signs,
….at the ghost images
….….doubling edges.

Even with binoculars, she
….can’t make out the male

On the far shore, that splashy
….landing that so impresses
….….all the girls. Even her.


Color Theory

April may be the cruelest month in England
but here it is sweet as a small poodle’s lick.
Indigo crocuses bloom amid aging snowdrops
and glory-of-the-snow, while baby Lenten roses
unfurl their first magenta flowers. The yellow
ruffles of daffodils bring their sunny segment
of the color wheel to the mix, and wild white
bloodroot punctuates last autumn’s leaf litter.

A phoebe sings from the gable tip over
the garage while I put away the trowel
and rinse brown compost from my hands.
The garden and I are newlyweds again, all
promise and caress, though we both know
that dry disappointment is sure to follow.


Half a Lifetime

Outside my window, the mockingbird
runs through his impressive repertoire.

My dad, who died fifty years ago, loved
how Myron Floren played the accordion

on Lawrence Welk. The bird, no entertainer,
sings his rights to the holly berries. Yesterday

I drove to the beach, our family ritual
every summer Sunday after early mass.

Now I prefer October for beachgoing.
The sand is cool, the water warm. Pelicans

loaf past the breakers. Monarchs waft south.
A dad lobs a wiffleball toward his son.

The metallic ping of the bat: the only sound
aside from surf. Almost as quiet as church.


© Pat Valdata

Pat Valdata is a poet and novelist. Her poetry book about women aviation pioneers, Where No Man Can Touch, won the 2016 Donald Justice Poetry Prize. Her third novel, Eve’s Daughters (Moonshine Cove, 2020), won first prize from the Delaware Press Association and received an Honorable Mention from the National Federation of Press Women. For more information about Pat and her writing, go to

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