By Marci Calabretta:
Wild strawberries were blooming
as we ambled toward the cottonwood shade.
You were examining the prophecy of snowfall
in the measurements of woolly caterpillars
and I asked your opinion on the nature of happiness,
perhaps because you called me sister
or because I called you brother and stranger.
Tiger-banded dragonflies skimmed the grass.
Fern and myrtle, downy brown and black.
You laid the larvae on my palms without speaking.
I never knew you had such silences.
Overhead, wires heavy with starlings or crows―
I couldn’t tell against the steel sky. But I remember
later that night, the steam from our tea
curling above us and into our mouths, as though
the answer could last us a whole season of snow.
BROTHER RETURNS AS CHRYSANTHEMUM
Didn’t we think we were more than this―
little suns unfurling above the earth?
We thought we were constellations
in soil, entire galaxies anchored to dust.
Ravenous, we believed our thousand
arms could hoard the horizon―
eclipsing ourselves even as we waned,
bereft of all but shadow.
Marci Calabretta is the recipient of poetry fellowships from Kundiman and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Her work has appeared most recently in Thrush, Lunch Ticket, American Letters & Commentary, and Chautauqua. Her chapbook, Last Train to the Midnight Market, was published by Finishing Line Press. She is co-founder and managing editor for Print-Oriented Bastards, an assistant editor for Jai-Alai Magazine, and a contributing editor for Florida Book Review.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poems are wildly vivid and pleasantly unexpected. In “Caterpillar Season,” the poet couples the lush of wild strawberries with the oracular act of “examining the prophecy of snowfall.” The poem is like a parable in which the nature of happiness might be gleaned from the wonders of a nature so vibrant it feels at times as if it might fly or blossom from the page. “Brother Returns as Chrysanthemum” is anchored in the metaphysical, grappling with human existence and our role in the universe. The culmination of the poem, “eclipsing ourselves even as we waned, / bereft of all but shadow,” is a gorgeous finale that grounds us in the observable while inviting us to contemplation. Both poems indulge in delicious alliteration, fervently celebrating language and the poetic act.
Want more from Marci Calabretta?
Marci Calabretta’s official website
Purchase Last Train to the Midnight Market from Finishing Line Press
Co-founder and managing editor for Print-Oriented Bastards