Monday, February 13, 2012

Lois Marie Harrod's THE ONLY IS

Lois Marie Harrod's chapbook The Only Is is the winner of the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest sponsored by the journal Poems & Plays. Here are two poems:

Grasshoppers, Peaches
Her farmer man is measuring the grasshoppers this year, the length
of his ring finger, the joint missing; she is dying of cancer,
remembering lilacs thick with remission, she couldn’t think then
and now the dust, another dry summer, her mother’s anklets stained
with sweat, those brown shoes, clodhoppers
like bumpy potatoes, tongues shiny under the laces,
her own tongue, what she wanted to say stopping
him that first night, trembling, last summer’s peaches
packed in Mason jars, too far to go to the cellar now, but he­–
he was coming to the room with dry sandwiches
and a jar of mayonnaise, the room hot and wheezing
behind the yellow blinds, peaches in the Pyrex dishes
they had used for years, the children far away, speechless,
just the two of them now, grasshoppers, canned peaches.

“I once loved a poem more than a person”
J. D. McClatchy
And how could I not love it, the poem knowing,
as I did not, what I desired, the moon
slipping into the magnolia like a mourning
dove, the sun coming down on the sea–
while the man had no tongue and was clumsy
with a stylus. But he persevered, scrawling
epigrams on his gawky clay, bringing cream
and coffee in the morning and soup
when I was sick. His mouth made odd little
movements when I was sullen and his eyes
became green rivers in which I learned
to dip. And I knew then that I deserved
him less than the sad bird and the sun,
my man who had no art to say my name.

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