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Postcards to Eva
1. My mother once found us drowning in the huge heads of sunflowers-- the flowers’ thick stems and the silk from your mother’s corn choking us. Yellow rubbed into our mouths. Green marked our entire bodies. We were cousins. Weeds, blooms, and thistles tattooed the same strange patterns through our chests and along our arms. 2. You paint a baby’s rattle, faucets, swing sets, beards, and bread rising on a counter top. Objects only and vivid color. You never use the brailled rise of oil paint. The flat shine of watercolor shapes your paintings. If I went deaf, would my poetry go to sound? 3. On Saturday, I washed my daughter’s hair in the kitchen sink just as Grandma washed ours in the summers we stayed with her. Our bodies lifted and stretched along each side of the counter until our hair met and tangled in the drain of her double sink. You weren’t afraid of the sink even though your father had mistaken mop water for bath water when you were 3 months old. He cleaned you in Lysol until you were blind. 4. Are you coming for Christmas this year? I know it is only May but my mother wants to know. 5. I saw Grandmother last week when we went shopping for melons. Even the honeydew are too much for her now. She had a bridge tournament that Sunday (after Church) and wanted, no needed, to make a melon ball boat. She and Ethel lost badly and everyone avoided the cantaloupe. 6. Uncle Drew died, right after Halloween. Since he was my uncle and not yours, I didn’t bother to call. I think you only met him once or twice. The last time I saw him he was laid up in bed, smoking, saying, “This is medicine.” Gone on Codeine, refusing Morphine. 7. Come for the summer. It smells better here than it looks. Lemonade, mowed lawns, and jelly-sticky children await your nose. I miss you mainly in summer because you always got to the ice cream truck first and bought me red, white and blue dripping rockets. Do you remember color? 8. My dad is getting married again. Just the immediate family this time. My sisters are flying in from Houston. She seems nice although she likes dresses with flowers on them a bit too much. Remember, how much hair he had? It use to fall into our mouths when he would carry us piggy back. All gone. Now, we would only get a mouthful of skin. Salty and slick. 9. a Here’s a poem for you, Bzzzzzzz zzzzz zz the rub of a tapping foot against the floor bzzzzzz z zzzzzzzz z a stoppage of sound zzzz breath zz zzzzzzzzzz the shuffle of a newspaper zzzz leaves rustle or is it the beginning of stalking? bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzz zz zz zzzzzzz z the smoosh of a tiny body breaking. 10. When first you moved to New York from California, I use to count the states between us and imagine what they felt like against your skin as you passed through them. Kansas, a wildfire, Texas, sandpaper, Louisiana, a damp tissue at the throat. Then, I realized you were never coming home to tell me Pennsylvania feels like grass and Maryland is sugar through the hands. I am still here so I’ll tell you California is the brown center of a sunflower drying after the briefest rain.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mark Morales On Date: 2004-01-28 22:32:30
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
And now I am jealous. This is excellent writing, Jane. The bee poem is absolutely brilliant. I don't care much for the numbering, however. Its a little distracting, and yet a very minor gripe. Hey, I had to critique something. Best, Mark
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