Eric at Gold Beach in Normandy, 2014
“The Leaves are Falling off the Trees” ~Normandy 2014
Tanks do not float
and we cannot go backwards.
West to east, last to first
8:00 to 6:30
Resistance bicycles, full moon,
coca cola, chewing gum,
Donkey in a small fenced field.
Cemetery cat, friendly, fat, chaffinches.
Sacrifice, courage, cowardice.
How does your garden grow?
Ten thousand crosses—With eyes squinted,
the markings look
like school children holding hands.
Red beach, barbed wire.
Fox green, fox red.
Easy green, easy red.
white, green, red.
Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s a poem for my mom, from Four Blue Eggs.
A slice of saffron in the autumn woods
becomes a thread the eye can follow
into next spring. It’s the same with mothers,
their love is sewn into our character,
into the yarn of history, into all the befores
and the ever-afters we’ll quilt ourselves.
We see her face when we look closely
into the structure of our smiles
or watch our own hands wash and dry the dishes, plunging
our fingers into warm blue water.
Every time we look with love
at bluebirds waiting on the clothesline,
or see sunshine stenciled in a shadow
on the sidewalk; every time
we pull the quilt up around our chins,
we’re colored by our mother’s threads.
We see her standing behind the camera
turning the lens, snapping the photo
so our faces are clear and smiling;
we must only turn the camera to see
the earth stitching its path
around the sun, its filament
curved into the elliptical promise of return.
Ferne with her first two children (three more to come), and a great shot of me showing my butt to the world. I’m pretty sure she made our matching outfits.
Young Ferne with her stylish mother, Margaret.
with one of two red-headed babies (probably Kris).
Four Blue Eggs is available as a Kindle e-book for only 4.99 right now on Amazon–a mother’s day bargain. Preferably, support independent publishers and buy the collection directly from Homebound Publications. Pick up Reconnaissance too, and pre-order The Foundation of Summer, by Eric D. Lehman, my talented husband.
This poem was first published in Nomad’s End, Finishing Line Press, 2010
On the long way home from the bus stop,
kicked-up leaves gather in the trenches
along the side of the dirt road
pushed together by moving cars and people walking.
Overhead, camouflaged by their uniformity, birds
meander the sleek birches as a girl, goofy and marvelous,
ambles past the Wilson’s house and mica rock
making up characters and acting out moon stories.
In the earth’s penumbra, her circle of playmates
holds hands, not minding when the rain
discovers their marathon, hoping the cross winds,
full of tea parties and bittersweet chimes,
will sweep them away to the company of trees.
There is no sound like this ample baritone
which echoes a young girl’s thinking. In solitude
there is always singing, always voices
saturated and golden, sublime
waltzing through perfect shadows pianissimo.
This poem first appeared in Potato Eaters, published by Finishing Line Press in 2008.
On the nights she went out
to PTA meetings and Tupperware parties,
my mother would leave
a pressed ruby imprint of lips
on a square of toilet paper.
left on the counter,
by the time I was fourteen,
I had hundreds saved
in her crimson pump shoe-box
under my bed. Weighed down slightly
by a perfume bottle, those kisses
were left for me to find,
until I grew out of snug, cotton dresses.
Now, my best moments recreate
those toilet-tissue touches,
those sanguine emblems,
of beauty, and generosity,
those most sacred tokens
of any world.