Poem of the Week | October 27, 2014

This week we offer another poem from our new fall issue, 37.3. Jill Reid is a poet and teacher who lives in Pineville, Louisiana with her six-year-old daughter, Ellie, and nearly too many books to count. She earned her MA in literature at Baylor University, her MFA in poetry at Seattle Pacific University, and teaches at Louisiana College. Most recently, her poems have appeared in The Tupelo Quarterly, The Missouri Review, Rock and Sling, Ruminate Magazine, Relief Journal, Big Muddy, and Fourth River.
 
Author’s note:

Memories can be wily creatures. Uninvited, the past still intrudes and leaves tracks all over the present. The poem, “I remember,” came out of a time when I gave up trying to corral memory and decided to let it roam within the world of a poem. However, the memories, which were tied to the beginning and the ending of a marriage, were difficult to manage. The sonnet form offered me a way to order the past, to compress all of its rawness into lines that had to rely primarily on imagery rather than straight narrative for their energy and meaning. Focusing on the garden, its blooms and birds, its blooming and fading, created a new place for the memories to settle and a solid space for me to engage their complexity.

 

I remember

 

that first, threadbare year, the tearing away
from home, my once long name, the way I make
the coffee strong. And how I learn to say
it—husband, learn to let that word take
me to a garden where vines twine and coil
around a pale tree, where the first violet bursts
of the morning glories quiver and roil
in birdsong and breeze. In frost, blooms rehearse
their exit, draw closed fists against the bruise
of wind. When vines become stiff belts, claim
the pale tree, when the morning glories lose
their flush, I remember my once long name,
how to make the coffee strong. And this, too—
the kingbird in the garden—how he sang, how he flew.

 

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