Monday, September 1, 2014

Rebecca Pierre- Three Poems

Say the word,
and daffodils suddenly uncurl
yellow horns, fighting to be first,
with forsythia a close second. Wisteria
will have its way, as will hyacinth and iris.
All the flowers, in their turns, turn out.
Even indoors, the Easter cactus buds
after ten years of stubbornness.
This, too, is spring.
In this season of greening, your voice
becomes thin as reeds. Reeds promise
cattails. The marsh promises tadpoles,
songs of chorus frogs. Ibis bring
spring to Battery Island in the V
of their flight morning and evening.
I think of deer beside the roadway at night,
eyes shining in headlights. And of the dead one,
body broken in half, head cocked back
as if in agony. Yours will not be agony.
Only each day, less and less of you.
I will bring you daffodils, you will whisper
They are perfect. We will never say goodbye,
we will only say, I love you.

Published in: the cancer poetry project 2001

     When I was young, colors flamed
     Bright greens and yellow – gold!
     Now they glow in muted hues,
     Deepen as I grow old.
Today I pass on the magic,
watch as my lover’s child,
dark head bent in concentration,
presses her slim brown fingers
into the bowl of the spoon
she rubs on the slick side
of waxed paper that rests
on the Sunday funnies.
Her brown eyes – so different
from my green ones -
entranced as colors appear.
I remember my father,
his thick fingers pressed
into the bowl of the spoon
when he taught us this trick.
How my sister, watching,
head bowed, her halo
of red curls glowing, forgot
the brown birthmark she wears
like a cape on the nape
of her neck, how she scrubbed
trying to rub it off the way
all the colors have been erased
from my father’s memory
as if by some phantom
transference to waxed paper.

Published in: PINESONG AWARDS 2000 (NC Poetry Society –Second Place, Thomas H. McDill Award)

          (for Martha)
Daddy collected us
from various aunts and uncles,
more sober than I’d seen him
in a year, saying we were going
to the beach. My brothers
piled in the back of the pickup,
breathed the air of freedom
from tobacco rows, as the broken
line measured miles.
Wind snatched their songs,
thrust them through the open window
of the cab where I sat quietly
caressing the worn seat beside me.
I thought of mama’s tangle of red hair,
the soft comfort of her body,
her voice crooning lullabies
like wind in the long leaf pines.
An ocean of children surged
toward the fence as we
stopped in front of the orphanage.
With the tips of his fingers,
daddy floated a box of animal crackers
gently across the seat.

Published in Wellspring Number Eight, 1998

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