Claudia Gary is author of Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006) and several chapbooks. A 2014 finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and a 2013 semifinalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, she writes, edits, sings, and composes (tonally) in the Washington D.C. area. Her poems appear in anthologies such as Forgetting Home (Barefoot Muse 2013) and Villanelles (Everyman Press 2012), as well as in journals internationally. Her articles on health appear in The VVA Veteran, VFW, and other magazines. For more information, see – http://www.pw.org/content/claudia_gary .
“Stay home! The road spells danger!”
On such a morning, ice,
old landscape rearranger
indifferent and precise,
encapsulates each grass stalk
and leaf of tiny shrub,
the pattern on each sidewalk,
bicycle spoke and hub.
The streets are well deserted.
Peril is absolute
where rain and freeze have flirted.
And yet my salt-stained boot
finds still another doily
of frost-begotten lace
whose edges crackle royally
in danger’s frozen face.
(First published in Trinacria)
Considering the losses–Mother’s mind,
part of your own mind, part of every day
spent bingeing, purging all the sweets you find,
embittering yourself–is there a way
that you can ever be a loving mother?
And do you wish to be? It’s all a blur.
Time to consult one expert or another.
An analyst will give your thoughts a whir
and let them clear. You talk, you write, you dream:
It’s winter. In my parents’ house I’ve found
an upstairs bathroom window fogged with steam.
I open, look down at a frozen pond.
There, through the ice, I notice from above
a baby, still alive. This I could love.
I run downstairs and out into the cold
to crack the frozen pond and save the child.
With brittle fingers, I can barely hold
my hands in icy water. In a wild
moment I lift her into the night air.
She gasps, and then lets out–a melody.
You wake and write it down. Soon, on a tear,
you eat and breathe music. You hear, smell, see,
and touch the fibers of harmonic straw,
spinning them into contrapuntal gold,
then diving back for more. All that you draw
from dreams you can deliver hundredfold.
Your mind was never barren, this is true.
But what about a real child? Yes. That too.