“Language is how ghosts enter the world”
— Anne Micheals
Curiosity steeps her in inquisitive tea, questions like burrs or the way the flesh of a cling peach won’t release the pit. She knows: it’s her love affair with the meaning of begin but flesh must starve if seed remain swathed.
Baroque night music, her dreams topple the monument as it hoards leftover light. She says, “Tear down the temple, flush away form.” Map unwrites itself, ID card tears, heaps of furniture, peace signs.
Darkness escapes the cul-de-sac, heals her bruised ego. She dresses in Grandma’s brocade curtains, plunges from the diving rope, listening for accordions that swim her over rapids, Father fixed into a swing.
“The ungrieved world”
–W. S. Merwin
She does not forsake intense yellow, her particular village among locations the world offers. Yellow holds paramour, burnished morning, the ungrieving allegory that travel-by-foot provides.
She places fallible red beside it, echoes in her marrow, all she can’t see crowds her shoulders, a cape not a shadow.
Black, born from bright and deep, signals equivocal, her hands muffled by the way night returns. She’s accustomed to stars, their pause a series of question marks.
Nothing serene severs her from blood, her tread heavy in the gossamer field. Distance doesn’t interest her, opening’s nearby.
She bows to tulip petals, to see their center. Gold and the stamen’s cross, hollow orifice.
Birdcall calls her from sleep.
Grafton says about her process:
Multiplicity. I want my poems to stretch into the many-layered texture of any moment or image. And take me someplace new. To that end, when writing, I surround myself with sensate stimuli, I purposely tune in to all I can see, hear, touch, smell, and of course to the dreams of the night before or the emotions welling – to the place in my body I feel them well up. Then add: all the past in me, that breathes beneath my present breath.
Grace Marie Grafton’s new book, Other Clues, which includes the poems in this blog, will be available as of May 1, and can be ordered from www.rawartpress.com. Her chapbook, Zero, won the Poetic Matrix competition and her ekphrastic book, Visiting Sisters, was published by Coracle Books. Recent work appears in Volt, Edgz, Spoon River Poetry Review, LanguageandCulture.net, poemeleon.org and poetrymagazine.com. She has taught many years with CA Poets In The Schools, receiving numerous grants from the CA Arts Council for her teaching programs. She was named Teacher of the Year by the River Of Words international youth poetry contest co-sponsored by Robert Hass. She lives in Oakland, CA.