INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Karyn M. Bruce
A. J. Huffman
Paul B. Roth
Jennifer Burd &
Rose Mary Boehm
Michael D. Long
Ann Arbor Review
is an independent
International Journal & ezine
Copyright (c) 2013
Silver Grey Fox
All rights revert back to each poet.
--editor / Southeastern Florida
Silver Grey Fox
THINGS IN MY HEAD
I am not like anyone in my family.
My father’s sister, Marge,
thought she was a poet
& everything I wrote
she attributed to her influence on me
with her rhymes& sing-songy jingles.
Aunt Donna died too early
for me to know who she was
except that she had married a WWII soldier
& then when he was killed
had to come home & live with her mother.
She made cinnamon toast for me every Saturday
& died just when I thought I had something to say.
Other aunts: the socialite & the housewife.
The uncles: the drinker & the gambler.
My cousins were all boys
except Elizabeth who lived in Arizona
with asthma & Chihuahuas & red hair.
I had a mother who took me to grown-up movies after school
& we’d eat hot dogs at the counter in Kresege’s
where I could twirl around in my seat.
One December she took me Christmas shopping.|
The streets were icy & cold and blinked on & off
with colored lights in snowflakes that landed on my face.
She’d hold my hand so I would not fall. But she did.
I think my father was full of clouds.
He taught me everything he knew about birds & stars.
He sang silly songs & showed me
how to make a kite fly a hundred miles into the sky
& how to hurt my mom.
There were two grandmothers:
one from England who served me tea without milk
& never spoke to me
& the grandmother with babushkas
who told me stories full of onions & garlic.
When I was all alone on rainy days
I’d make a tent beside my bed
& spend the afternoons reading to my dolls
while eating bologna sandwiches
wondering about the things in my head
that were not like what anyone had taught me.
IN PERFECT BLACK AND WHITE
I remember the first time I saw you as a teenager
with one foot on the running board of a 1928 Ford,
your hair frizzed all over your head, you frowning at the camera.
And the picture of you at fifteen, in a tutu in an arabesque pose.
You would tell me how you taught yourself ballet,
and how a couple from England wanted to adopt you
to put you in their troupe. But Grandma wouldn’t sign the papers.
So there you were, stuck in the photo on your toes.
There were photos of aunts, uncles, and cousins at spaghetti picnics
out at Morgan’s Woods, playing banjos and accordions
or caught in a polka twirl on a wooden dance floor.
And everyone in bathing suits at Goguac Lake,
posed pageant-style in bathing caps and waves of foam.
There were the weddings and the baptisms and holidays
and your mother and father out by the grapevines
or sitting on the back porch steps.
There were hundreds of photos of you,
shiny with girlfriends and boyfriends in jalopies and bars,
full of lipstick and nail polish.
I remember all those afternoons of mother and daughter
when you and I were tucked into each other,
my head under your chin, your voice slipping through my hair,
pressing your memories into mine.
When you were gone, I could tell the stories to myself,
in perfect black and white,
and wait for you to wave back this time, at me.
SLEEPING WITH SUNFLOWERS
I bought clay pots
sunflower seeds inside the warm dirt
watching them grow into small shoots
bending toward the sunlight
from the window sill.
In my mind I have a room
above the clatter of voices
filled with flowers & pieces of paper
scattered across a red wooden table
where my cats will sleep away
the long & lonely afternoons
into half-remembered dreams.
Off from the kitchen where books & teas & apples
press their smells into wooden shelves,
I have planted a garden
& filled it with scraps of poems
& things that really grow.
I remember my mother sometimes
when I do not distract myself with other things
her eyes, the distance between our storms
& I wonder how she lived so long
after her death.
I have become a seed saver
to halt the tide of disappearance.
I write poems & sleep with sunflowers
to fend off the disease of womanhood.
You & I
we drain berry juice into the porcelain sink
sip tea & speak of rain.
Karyn M. Bruce, Biscayne Park, Florida