by Grace Marie Grafton
She used red jello in the hospital dish
to look through. Sugar and
horses’ hooves, dissolved to stiff
clear then doused with chemical
red, provided a lens to illuminate
the meaning of the empty window
by her aging bed. She could hold
up squares between two fingers,
parts of her still worked.
Her lack of understanding about
human nature was generous.
Confusion over the mess created
a red gleam, kernelled in her brain.
At times, it germinated (especially
when night and sleep in the hospital
room wasn’t allowed to be night
and sleep) and saturated her body
with hot red weather.
This was the end (patience her long
last lesson). She did wish for
blue revelation but revelation
never constellated for her,
revolving as she did between
drinking glasses on the table
and the crest of the slope where
poppies (their intoxicating gold
brushes) exploded any conviction
her mind might settle on.
* * * * *
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.