Author of The Heartwood Crown, The Crescent Stone, Good News for a Change, Sky Lantern and several other wonderful books!
Open CasketA funeral summons me an ocean away:My grandmother's face, complacent,a foreign sight to my stranger's eyes.Heavy incense drowning me in sweetness,perfume of my past.I remember sitting in my grandmother's lapher stories of tricky rabbitswho outsmarted wolves,filial children who walked barefootthrough blizzardsto find turnips for their hungry parents.My grandmother's voice was raspy,fuzzy sandpapersurprisingly soothingwith the soft cadence of her island dialect.I remembercelebrating birthdayswith cakes as big and round as a harvest moon,the frosting clinging to my nose,my grandmother beamingand the light from the candles bouncingoff the fillings of her teeth.I remembermy grandma visiting us in America,the lines of her face weathered,her voice hoarse,her sentences broken,the melody interrupted by a stroke.She disrupted my life.Her solid shadow could darken a room.That smell of tiger balm andmothballs she carried.She sat in a dark room, alone,eyes fixed on the television screen.Out of wet eye corners,she watched my brother and I talk,so quiet we forgot she was there.She loved sitting in our yardas the day slipped into dusk:the birds warbling,her toes digging in the grass,the blades tickling feet,a hiccup of laughterfrom the small woman in the lawn chair.I rememberwatching her figuregrow dim in the fading light,catching her eye and seeing her shiny teeth,Knowing her smile would lingeras everything else grew dark.Eva Tingeverting@yahoo.com(originally published in "clarion," literary magazine at BU)
MY MOTHERwas a boomerangwith a serrated edgea hand in the darka black widow in my bedher voice her hair her mouth her eyesa double-sided mirror,one true, one liesmy mother the vampiremarried to the Count of Painfrying eggs with my soft easy headscrubbing floors rubbing me cleanerasing evidence replacing my clothesbrushing my curlssaving me in tupperware
Here's my entry, straight outta Arkham!she was a hot lantern of damnationin tresses so darkreclining (odalisque) among the brushesand inkstones strewn about the bedi stood at the window unmovingfor safetygrasping the sill tight, too tightbreath caught, too tightmy chest unmoving as i was opento the lances and points of the worldhow long can i be caught here?where there is no ark of safety, no spot where even madness could shield meoutside, faraway lanterns rustled in night-darkening breezesturn, son.it's the end.she's waiting.
Song for the Little BugLittle bug, little bug,what can you ask of me?I can’t save you and the little ant, too,and sit where I happen to be.I never meant to get so big,nor you, I’m sure, so small;and we can’t decide if we swim or glide,or pace, or fret, or crawl.But you’ll land on my arm, and I’ll land on your grass,having wings (as we do) and feet,and there’s nothing to do but to do what we do,and tip hats when we meet.