Poetry. “The poems in TRAVELING THROUGH GLASS are as crisply separate from each other as grains of basmati rice. Each has its own personality, its own individuality whether it is about India or remembering a wallpaper from childhood. But no matter if about India or a childhood memory they are woven with startlingly apt metaphors and similes. A widow’s oppressive sorrow is ‘like the scent of gardenias in a closed room…” In a triumphantly elongated metaphor the Atlantic becomes a ‘native ventriloquist, throws its voice into the clenched lips of an oyster, whispering/ in the tide-slurred accent of a tired Southern girl.’ – Karen Swenson
“…explores the depth of a quiet life, the mysteries of love, and the certainty of loss…” — Howard McCord
“…the poems… expand like a Chinese paper flower bursting from its clam shell in a glass of water.” — Karen Swenson
“Each poem is a volume. Each poem is an intelligence far beyond the yatter of interpretation.” — Ron Bayes
The pattern of lattice and roses
reminds me of the wallpaper
in the house where I grew up,
of wild roses climbing the stone wall
in the back yard, the border
of rouge-colored roses on the gold-
ringed rims of our tea cups.
I wrap myself in the flannel folds
of this warm cloth, like the closed
petals of a bud, transported back
to a child’s narrow bed, listening
to wind and waking to the black
faces of midnight roses in the dark.
I would climb into bed with my parents,
drifting off against the lumbar curve
of my mother’s soft breathing,
never knowing how I returned
to my own bed by morning
where I woke to a wall of leaves
and roses that were only
roses, after all.
A Middle-Aged Woman in Spring
This isn’t your season. Spring makes you think
of what you’re losing: beauty, fertility, youth.
You need the deeper hues of winter, the claret
reds and emerald greens, the true colors
of vintage wines and jewels.
As each winter contours your body
into rounder years, burgeoning buds emerge
on the branches, predictably, the organdy
blossoms of lilac and peach, weeping cherry.
These are your daughter’s pastel shades,
the tall blonde stranger who sprang from
your youth, full-grown, as Minerva
from the migraine of Zeus.
She can wear baby blue, the acid-washed
denims that used to flatter you; she borrows
your shoes and eyeshadow, and your silver earrings
disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of her room.
Poised at menarche’s threshold,
moon-blind as girls her age become,
she slams her door at the top of the stairs.
Once you were her age, rolling your hair
on Tropicana cans, trying to tame a natural
wave. You remember those years as
a moonscape filmed through a vaselined lens.
You were so wrapped up in yourself, oblivious
to the dangers of early spring, of daughters
who become mothers too soon and mothers
who let go of the past too late. Her anger
is normal, hormonal, the rite of blood
drawn out with primal tides.
You will both outlast this season of change.
Just as you’re leaving, she will arrive.