Across the meadow, Monet’s stepdaughter,
Blanche, carried canvases in a bumpy wheelbarrow
to help capture the transience of light.
Hurry, Papa said, the sun sets so fast!
She prepared another canvas.
Throughout the day, each half hour,
the color of the haystacks changed
like a bruise on the skin.
On my father’s farm, Mother chooses to die.
Splotches on her legs, the only modest place
my father shows me, ugly purplish and reddish,
like sunspots, as if the sun appeared to perish.
I run to the harvest haystacks to hide
from death. But he finds me.
At the funeral parlor, Mother looks like Mother
except for her skin. Gone the soft hands
that washed my dirty face. Gone
the tender cheeks that tucked me in at night.
Gone the supple lips that kissed my forehead.
Instead, a hardness, like rock
I tote from a fertile plowed field,
like the brick of the silo storing continuance,
like the bark of an apple tree heavy with fruit.
Even the hard earth as I sit at the grave,
the sun setting, Father’s callous hand
reaching for me, lifting me
into a world I know will be forever hard.
LE CHRIST VERT
I shut my eyes in order to see.
I have put you behind me,
a green shadow signifying death
or maybe a verdant pasture
where I repose
watching waves break
like mirrors, no longer reflecting,
shards capturing the flight of gulls,
flickering spatters of impasto
mixed with sand, glass, ceramic,
creating a mosaic,
freezing the moment
the heart is pierced with a lance,
or a word, or a look from you
when I refuse to remain
impaled on the cross.
CIOCIA MARY’S BROTHER DYING
She rented a room across the street
so she could care for him, a bachelor
with cancer. He refused treatment, fifty-some years
enough. To me, at ten, he made sense.
One time, Ciocia Mary invited me to sit with them,
the rented chair, wooden, green paint chipped,
showing layers of white, blue, and yellow
like his skin. On the rented bed stand, a crucifix and clock.
I stared at the clock while the two of them spoke
in and out of Polish. When she mentioned me,
his chest heaved as if to speak. I smiled.
The man on the cross remained silent.
On top of the rented chest of drawers
a living cemetery of relatives. They smiled, too.
After an exchange of Polish, Ciocia Mary cried.
He asked me if I played ball. Little League.
Two words to a man I would never see again.
Looking out the rented window I observed
how darkness slowly ate the light,
how I felt there wasn’t much time left
for me to play.
donnarkevic: Weston, WV. MFA National University. Recent poetry has appeared in Bijou Poetry Review, Naugatuck River Review, Prime Number, and Off the Coast. Poetry Chapbooks include Laundry, published by Main Street Rag. Plays have received readings in Chicago, New York, and Virginia. FutureCycle Press published, Admissions, a book of poems, in 2013.