Yesterday I attended a reception at New England College celebrating a new issue of the literary journal Entelechy International. The journal's theme was Metamorphosis, and my poem, "The Picklefork," is included.
The journal is really lovely, mostly poetry and photographs, some prose. The editors are open to new talent and achieve a balance of established and emerging writers. The reading period usually begins in January, but the editors are taking a break to pursue their own writing. Here is the link, though the 2008 issue is not yet pictured:
I post the poem here, with a few word and line revisions thanks to feedback from poets Marilyn Nelson and Kevin Young. To the poet, a poem may never be finished, may always be in revision. Kevin Young told us that according to Denise Levertov, a poem is not a monument, but a living thing.
The Pickle Fork
We left her clothes ‘til last
not wanting to face the closet
bare with the stone rolled away
and no angel proclaiming,
“She has risen!”
Her dresser drawers
Stretched elastic waist bands
crowded packaged panties,
and familiar flannel nestled
next to velvet fleece.
We left her blue slippers by the bed,
as if she might need them in the night
In the kitchen, we ditched the crumbled
bay leaves and twenty-seven cent turmeric
that once spiced her bread and butter pickles,
tossed the folded cello wrap, pressed tinfoil,
even the dozen corn kernels that counted
our blessings like proper Pilgrims.
Flatware lay fallow in a drawer,
bowls of silver plated spoons
yellowed by years of simmered soup.
And there it was. The pickle fork.
Its slender handle weighted my palm
while the tines talked of families
gathered like pickles, olives and figs
in the depression glass dish before the feast,
before the bones were picked bare,
before my mother sucked out the marrow.
My tears stained the damask tablecloth.
The pickle fork slipped into my pocket.