From Four Blue Eggs (2017 Homebound Publications), a poem that has had quite a journey, from a notebooks sketch more than 25 years ago to a small but central kernel excerpted in my forthcoming memoir, The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory.
In My Sleeplessness, I Hear an Opera
In the beginning, I hear the darkness.
I am crowded by the soprano’s knowlege
of body rhythms. I see I E flat cry.
And then the light bulbs begin to sprout, one
by one, by the side of the stage where all
the Presidents line up in order.
I know them by their thunderous tenors,
because when eyelids magnetize I do not
sleep. After that I pretend that I lay
in a coffin, my arms folded like white
linen in a closet oddly fitted
to the size of my body. I smell cedar.
But all this time I have been wondering
if my eyelashes have learned how to sing.
I’ll be reading from Four Blue Eggs and other works at Byrd’s Books in Bethel CT, on Friday, May 18th at 7:00 for part three of Byrd’s Spring Poetry Series.
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.