Bio Note: I’m so glad V-V is continuing, as I’ve been missing my in-person poetry groups. Though I’m not writing a lot now, I’ve been combing through my poetry files and realized how many homeless poems I have. I live in Warwick, NY, and am grateful for a large yard and garden where I can escape the feeling of being restricted during the pandemic. My latest books are World Enough, and Time (Kelsay, 2017) and Traction (Ashland, 2011).
Bone on bone, the skeleton in my hand wants rest. Wrist, thumb, the index finger wielding trowel, shovel, knife, pen, comb, brush, pinch of spice wish to be done. Their creak and ache have not yet built a monument to pain, not like the hands my mother’s friend held out as balm to anyone— so misshapen, knobbed and cricked as if the skin were filled with stones. And yet those hands dipped chicken into batter, eased pieces into sizzling fat, shaped biscuits, dropped the aging dog a tender morsel, and, curved grotesque around a whiskey glass, kept dinner moving toward our plates. Summer crab feasts in her yard, hands that still could snap the spidery legs, peel the brittle apron, split the crab in half, bend just enough to pry out white, sweet, steaming flesh. Hands clasping mine when my mother died, and later when I pledged a life of love. Hands that could not close, and yet with hard-earned patience cradled pain, and joy, and death. My one hand, stiff, unfinished, next to Alma’s hands.
What's Buried In My Backyard
Our only cat, the one we couldn’t replace because she didn’t jump on table or counters, never shredded the drapes. Beside her, the cat my son and his wife couldn’t leave with the vet for “disposal,” couldn’t bury without a yard of their own. These cats never met in life, but now keep quiet company where no fluttering bird can light their eyes. Scattered around them beneath underbrush, dozens of mice my husband trapped and buried, as if these cats were pharaohs, supplied with all they need in the afterlife— their favorite blankets, delicious prey, sun and moon and stars. No one calling their names to bring them in.
©2020 Mary Makofske
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF