RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 15, 2015

John Barrale

Grandmothers— like the Parrots
on the Wallpaper in My Room
When I Was Thirteen

They were older goddesses,
constant and there
like the sun
and the rain,

their faces rough sketches
in the weather of years
I hardly remember.

Each was a queen,
their feathers like jewels
and carefully formed,

the greens and yellows,
though faded,
still a clear idea

like the outline of birds
on a wallpaper’s pattern,

or the faces of the old
on porches I passed

where death was slowly sewing

and bones were threads
in October’s knots,

the claw-like hands of old friends
spread over a game of cards
and a bowl of seeds,

the truth hulled,
and picked over
in softening beaks,

the shells tossed in yards
where the sunflowers were dying
and no one walked.

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