Grace Paley (poem & photograph).

HERE

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that’s who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that’s my old man across the yard
he’s talking to the meter reader
he’s telling him the world’s sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips.

Grace Paley by Sylvia Plachy
Photo of Grace Paley in Vermont, taken by Sylvia Plachy
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SPRINGPOEM

All of a sudden, the yellowing—

coltsfoot
dandelions
forsythia
daffodils

& the chickening—

the neighbor’s chalkboard sign reads
FREE ROOSTERS
the other neighbor’s pullets
test their babywings out front

& the neon-greening—

the leafing out
leaves like fingers spreading into hands
the hillsides like a fabric
of chlorophyll’s talents

& the perennials—

the miracle of having only
to plant something once
to receive its joys
each year

Taryn Day Daffodils in a Jar 2011
Daffodils in a Jar by Taryn Day

Rural miracle (poem) (mine).

Driving through Vermont today
Monday::latemorning::pregnant
& the rural miracle
is 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” on the radio

mixed into another cut
from “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”
which I know all the words to::which I am trying
to do myself

Riches so far include
these leaves finally turning bright
homemade deli pickles in the basement
healthy body::& family::& friends

but otherwise financially [technically] speaking
riches do not abound
especially right now
[[I worry::I try not to worry::I worry about it]]

The baby bounces with me
in the truck which bounces
at speeds higher than 50
[something that needs fixing]

[[like the other car
which is also broken]] [dead battery]
Today I will be invited as a guest on a radio show
Today I will buy myself the purple asters I covet

I can’t get out of chairs easily::or gracefully
Even women help me now at stores
In stretchy black & sagegreen clothes
I hustle forward with this baby beneath my skin

Like 50 I have 21 questions [[about birth::& life]]
I try to breathe like the articles tell me to
I fail::I thrive::I fail again::I’m fueled
by gasoline & fresh-dug beets & beliefs I can’t explain

“Pregnancy is hands-free” (poem) (mine)

Pregnancy is hands-free

I’m growing a child while I sleep
I’m growing a child while I weed the lavender
I’m growing a child while I fill the ice cube trays
I’m growing a child while I wipe down the toilet
I’m growing a child while I organize headbands I never wear
I’m growing a child while I edit Spotify playlists
I’m growing a child while I throw out all my underwear with holes
I’m growing a child while I water the geraniums
I’m growing a child while I add more salt to the pesto
I’m growing a child while I bobby-pin my hair
I’m growing a child while I remove dirt from my fingernails

I’m growing a child while the maples slip into their best red outfits, while the mornings dampen with mist, while I pack cucumbers and hot peppers into jars, while I bag corn and blackberries and peppers for the freezer, while I simmer plum compote and pick the last batch of cosmos, while the cows enjoy their last spin around the paddocks, while I braid the garlic and wrap the yarrow in string, while summer unzips her skirt and throws it atop the yellowing milkweed, the New England asters, the spent blossoms of Queen Anne—

October 10 by Wendell Berry

Now constantly there is the sound,
quieter than rain,
of the leaves falling.

Under their loosening bright
gold, the sycamore limbs
bleach whiter.

Now the only flowers
are beeweed and aster, spray
of their white and lavender
over the brown leaves.

The calling of a crow sounds
loud—a landmark—now
that the life of summer falls
silent, and the nights grow.

***

New England Aster Misha M. Johnson
New England Aster by Misha M. Johnson

Freelance poem (mine).

I work from home now

and I’m jamming to this song today

because Margot recommended it

and Margot knows what to pay

attention to. No, I don’t know Margot

but I know other women

who create television and funny mugs

plus my cousin-in-law

is the dude in the vest.

I’ve written a lot about vests;

haikus mostly, and desperate texts.

A vest is like a hug

for your chest, I’ve been known

to sigh, my core warm, my style fly.

 

“Wish for a Thursday” (poem) (mine).

Wish for a Thursday

In a soulmate we find not company, but a completed solitude. -Robert Brault

What I would’ve give to be settling in to eat breakfast
at Eaton’s Sugarhouse with you. The sky would offer
no commentary as we stripped off our scarves, unlatched
our jackets. We’d slouch a little in the chairs designed
for hunters on opening day of rifle season, for families
who’ve fed their cows hay from their own fields
for generations. We’re not those people; we’d only be
ourselves on a Thursday, a little sleepy still from summer’s
hot swipe of mayhem which we survived with long porch
lunches, sweaty bandanas, tulsi-scented winds. The windows
which appear cloudy from the road would be adorned
with hand-sewn curtains as if the diner were a living room
where anyone’s languor was welcome. Plates full of food
would arrive and greet our noses with their names.
We’d eat eggs and hot sauce over toast and split an order
of buckwheat waffles. It wouldn’t be the best meal
we’d ever eaten, not even the second best, but we’d be
unhurried and together: buttering toast, passing ketchup.