Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Work and Silence

by Grace Marie Grafton


She used to wash clothes in the yard.
“We put them in a huge
iron pot and built a fire
underneath and stirred them
with a stick.”
Sycamore leaves overhead
dried from the heat.

He hanged himself down by the river
on a branch. He was old
when he learned about his throat cancer.
Or was it of the nose?
Either stop eating or breathing.
Chose the warrior way out.

“He didn’t want
to bother us. It was right;
the children were so young
they took all my time.
Wouldn’t want them to see
their grandfather like that.”

Less and less
do I want to talk
unless like leaves new-green
rub against each other,
or the fins of fish
rudder through current.

Ravens have been in
the area. One perches on
the sawed-off valley oak,
mutters un-cawlike sounds.
Talking about its past?


* * * * *


Grace Marie Grafton’s most recent book, Jester, was published by Hip Pocket Press. Six collections of her poetry have been published.  Her poems won first prize in the Soul Making contest (PEN women, San Francisco), in the annual Bellingham Review contest, and The National Women's Book Association, Honorable Mention from Anderbo and Sycamore Review, and have twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Ms. Grafton has taught for decades with CA Poets in the Schools, and has been awarded twelve CA Arts Council grants for her teaching programs. Recent poems appear in Sin Fronteras, The Cortland Review, Canary, CA Quarterly, Askew, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Basalt and Mezzo Cammin.