“Chimney Swifts” By Marc Frazier

 

 

Chimney Swifts

He did it by the storm cellar.
He filled a bucket with water, set it on the ground.
We couldn’t think of one reason
to drown little black birds.
When my sister cried, he said it had to be done.

We said we would never grow up,
that we would rather die.
We did not watch so we never knew where he put
the bodies.  But his hands became powerless to touch us.

She belonged to his world in some things

this strange woman whose hands
were always leaving her side to create space,
to move things about, to bring something warm to her breast.

The next morning he cooked bacon and eggs.
He stood motionless but for one arm
scrambling eggs while mother
with fluttering hands prepared a table.

 

(Originally published in Primavera in the late 1980’s; won an Illinois Arts Council Award in poetry)

 

About the Author: Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewSlant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection Each Thing TouchesWillingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books New York in 2019. His website is http://www.marcfrazier.org.

 

More by Marc Frazier: 

Sent My Way

Remainders

 

Image Credit: From Gray lady and the birds; stories of the bird year for home and school By Mabel Osgood Wright (1907) Public Domain

“Remainders” By Marc Frazier

 

Remainders

Aunt Bertha’s thick ankles tucked in orthopedic shoes.
She stirs water into flour for chicken gravy paste.

The soon-to-be-closed eyes of my father
stare at the dog planter on the window ledge.

Mother’s hands run fabric under the jumpy needle,
the machine’s drone luring me to love.

The voice of great-uncle John’s deep bass
volleys with Esther’s small, squeaky refrains.

Nicks on Sergio’s perfect face
held like a calla between my flowering palms.

The smell of Sunday’s roast with onions
potatoes and carrots waft through register vents.

Grandfather’s sad, wrinkled red face
dozes alone in the paneled TV room.

David of the Espanola Valley places his hand over mine
as I look above the table at New Mexican stars.

I cannot recall her last smile here beside the unplugged
body as the doctor says, “She’s passed.”

 

About the Author: Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewSlant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection Each Thing TouchesWillingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books New York in 2019. His website is http://www.marcfrazier.org.

 

More by Marc Frazier: 

Sent My Way

 

Image Credit: Russell Lee “Removing jars of canned fruit from pressure cooker. Chamisal, New Mexico” (1940) Library of Congress

“Sent My Way” By Marc Frazier

 

Sent my Way

A white crow is at home in my front yard—
a symbol like everything is
I know when I see a cardinal’s red flit before me
It’s the spirit of my mother Agnes checking in
But I didn’t even know such an anomaly existed
I remember the white buffalo of Wisconsin
Many years back which drew crowds
But it died on everyone—a clear message I believe
Who likes crows to begin with
This one is loud like the rest and speaks to me
In its own inimitable bird language
A thing alone and so noticeable must be a treat
to predators—red in tooth and claw
though poets created a “murder” of crows
(scientists don’t use such a term)
some primal violence is associated with them
and I wonder how many baby robins
this glorious creature by my elm has devoured.
like me it must fit in with its peers where it can
It seems to feel safe and listened to with me near
When I hear a cardinal’s chirp I know God is real
When I hear this white crow, I wonder how we survive
When so much sets us apart from the flock
Our blessing, our curse

 

About the Author: Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewSlant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection Each Thing TouchesWillingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books New York in 2019. His website is http://www.marcfrazier.org.

 

Image Credit: Emmanuel Bastien, “Crows” Remixed by the AIOTB Magazine staff Creative Commons.