Picture a garden, circling it, a field on fire, rich with color, but in that color is lack, and at first, you can assume a grander theme; assume a seduction associated with color or vibrancy, but that’s one of the first things you learn in school: everything is made up of shades.
Miracles Come on Mondaysby Penelope CrayPleiades Press, 2020 Please lock me in the quiet room so I can once again concentrate and give Penelope Cray the attention she exacts from each story of her debut collection, “Miracles Come on Mondays,” published by Pleiades...
In her second collection, My Afmerica, Artress Bethany White grapples with the grief of generations of Black mothers in America. Her title reflects the reality that black skin, for many whites, is an unwelcome insertion into white consciousness of country, and, of course, that being Black in America is its own cultural experience, a world apart.
Red lake of salt, crumbling edge of pus, far border of tender flesh / I tread around the bloody eye, daring the old impulse to jump / Saturday morning, the wound spills
The achingly red Roma tomatoes / fill the bleached porcelain sink / like the bulbous detritus of summer. / The remnants of seed and skin / collide and float broken and hollow.
Past the coffee table, its treacherous / corners; around the hushed ottoman; / pause in front of the flickering flat screen / as if I’d stepped right out of it. My family gapes.
A quiet to these fields we called our place, / could almost hear the springs refeeding ponds, / fracked and gone with the deer and fox and grouse / thanks to the drilling’s thunder in the ground.
The river changed course / By three feet. / Thus the willow withers from thirst. / Thus the rock is set alone like an altar. / Thus the grassy hill browns.
The summer of 2013 / Was seen through rose tinted sunglasses / We gathered at Christa’s house, / Solemnly toasting to “the last year”
How many little lives in between my fingernails, how many layers / of sod, of seed? This cold grass is all corpse and it’s only six o’clock /
in the evening. At the group home, I’ll spoon green beans and strained peaches / into my grandfather’s mouth, push them back onto his plate when he shoves
Seventh inning, score tied, and Shaw leans back in his favorite chair and begins another beer. I’ve already had my usual three and have turned down his offer of a fourth. Since I got here he hasn’t said a word about anything but the ballgame, one we’ve been looking forward to against our division rivals. He doesn’t look at me when he comments on the game and doesn’t seem to care if I reply.