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Poems by debi zathan

Green Like Us Two

Green like Jenna's velvet
dress, the one we wore
pretending to be grown up--
you twisted your ankle
running in grandma's shoes.

Green like your eyes close
up, round as dimes
the time we kissed,
giggling, wondering
about the fit of noses.

Green like moss growing new
on the still-damp rocks left
behind by Mill Creek's
receding current, us up
to our pantied bums,
sashes trailing--

Green like new corn
silk still hidden, clothing
the nubby pale milk
of early summer's sweet
cocoon, green like
us two.

Encounter with a Farmer

The plod of determination is
clayed and dunged, heavy boots
laced up the calf, wrapped around
twice, then tied again--
One foot placed heavily
in front of the other,
the loose legs of cover-alls
rolled to avoid mud,
gutter the sporadic rain of
loose tobacco, falling
from blunt calico-stained
fingers- he talks and rolls,
and walks and rolls.
'All of this is mine,' he says,
speaking around the smoke.
It is a 360 degree sweep,
shirt-sleeve flags,
arm out-stretched, palm turned up
fingers extended in a side-ways
salute, exposing the horned legacy
of hard yellow callous,
'Well, mine and the Lord's'.
The shrug of his smile
turns the corners of my
mouth up, but nervously
ashamed, unwilling to name it.

A View of the Corn

The window-seat I took refuge in was hard boarded
and curved paned, crafted by an ancestor whose longing
for light drove him to storage theft, leaving decades
of woman muttering about closet space, or so the aunts said.
My lingering there early earned a scolding from the voices
below, my father's murmuring slurred by his breakfast chewing,
"leave her alone, leave her alone.".

The sill in the morning underlined my brothers backs,
bent under the weight of feed sack and bale.
Their hair was sun bleached, whiter than a movie star's,
whiter than the suspender stripes which marked the bulge
of shoulders as they washed before lunch.
They teased as I set the table.

The back path led to the pigs, downwind of the house
on most days, I carried the kitchen scraps tagged
by a pup or two, all of us scuffing our feet. The bucket
was heavy, they would leap at the rim of it as I tried
to heft it out of their way.

In the late afternoon the wind would come up.
Dust from plowed acres blew across the way to the
tin roofed barn, horse tails twitched, hooves stomped
impatiently as just above the rasp beveled rails,
clouds of blow flys would lift like spooked crows
then settle back onto scabbed withers.

Tire swing turning, turning, the twist of frayed rope
swayed the shadows, crossed the chair strewn porch.
Ten stitches later on the ride back from town, they plotted
the demise of childhood. Off by the ditch, heat haze
floated the mailbox at the end of the drive, dirt bumping
into the paved road, bleeding tar like an artery.

Trailed like a kite by my mother's caution, I never learned,
would not listen. My gaze fastened on inner scenes I jumped,
and continue to fall. I admit to no regret, except for
the view of the corn.

The Curio

Reclused like old books whose bindings crinkle
dust a drift across the seams long cracked,
worn as worry-beads idle fingers smoothed
once wooed now preserved as artifact.

Barren inside the cold grey core of age,
husked, hollowed skin like folded linen
decanted by a trembling man-child's hands,
now curioed in dark and never bidden.

Shelved behind shutters each walnut trimmed,
gilded, embroidered, and then entombed
old rose flannel hiding the blue nailed chill,
of the sole silent occupant of the waiting room.


Slung between the
jut and jaunt of
Irish genre charm
I rest, hammocked,
the lazy wobble of my
orbital resolve
easily supported by
the knotted weave of
your confidence,
swaying a bit
from time to time.

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Biographical sketch: I am female, live in Eugene Or. Love to write.

debi z recommends:

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Reason: Crafted with perfection in my humble opinion. The sounds, the repetition, the steady building to the climax. Great poem.

Recommendations for writers:

That it is crafted well enough that the reader can grasp and yet find something fresh and original in the theme.


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