She wouldn’t let me kiss her except
in a Japanese garden by the river.
We went there
when snow covered the arched bridge,
the broad leaves
of water lilies.
We puffed small white clouds
She let me kiss her—
I became like the lily pads,
The bridge still curves over the pond
the first snow still beckons.
She never let me kiss her again
Susan Tollefson is a classical pianist, poet and painter who holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College. She lives in Dubuque, Iowa by the Mississippi River. Even when it’s too high, even when it’s threatening, the river is always stunning–a brilliant inspiration for the artist in her.