Her singing was rasp of jays, bark of crows. Her singing embarrassed me. Her singing rattled and rumbled with stink bugs and dead wasps. Her singing was louder than thunder. Her singing drew down heat lightning. Her singing created dust storms, whirlwinds of husks and split seedpods. Her singing called forth gators, bull elephants, wyverns molting tarry scales. Her singing was raw red flesh. Her singing, silenced, rings in empty ears, leaves my world mute.
On Finding Grandma’s Diary
She likens beetle infestation
to Biblical plagues, sister’s counterpan
to ravished bluebirds, reveals a boy
who unearthed a diamond lavaliere
among the kale.
Grover and Pearlie are at war, and
George reports next week. Mama hangs
a flag in the window—star for each son
who fights—prays every night
for safe returns.
Sunrays explode with forsythia spring.
She believes pussy willows
hoarded beneath her bed will hatch
into the kitten for which all pleas
Mama takes to the daybed,
too frail to cook or wash, and Grace—
sunrise and thunderhead—takes over;
kitchen slates are floured white
as though winter has returned.
The parlor appears, like Brigadoon,
at Easter. Mama’s pump organ
fills its dusty lungs; Papa’s desk
swallows its paper overflow;
lighted lamps glisten crystal tears.
Ann Howells has edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years, recently taking it digital: www.IllyasHoney.com. Her publications are: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag), Undera Lone Star (Village Books), Letters for My Daughter (Flutter), an anthology of D/FW poetsshe edited, Cattlemen & Cadillacs (Dallas Poets Community), and Softly Beating Wings which won the William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest 2017. Ann’s work appearswidely in small press and university journals; she has four Pushcart nominations.