Mothers and Daughters: Communicating Vessels

One year when the awakened plane trees
find themselves struck yellow in the night,
there will be nothing left of me but
a memory in your hands as they pull
wet laundry from the spun drum or
open the window’s case –
inviting October’s last, warm breath
to communicate the dust
between one room
and another.

by Bonnie McClellan

 

This was first posted in May of 2013.

Ouachita / Winding through Ouachita by Liliane Richman and Adina Richman

I would like to present the A pair of poems in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017. The first, by Liliane Richman, and the second, by her daughter Adina Richman, are both responses to a road trip to Arkansas that they took together. A beautiful mix of perspectives at the intersection of two different generations:

 

Ouachita

You and me
and me and you
driving
lacing through
the Ouachita Mountains
Elevation 2,464 feet

Through clouds and shadows
the greens, the pale sky blues
Dripping through the majestic pines
I knew and loved in my childhood
In Sabres, Landes

So much majesty around us
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach
Elevating the castle in my mind
Wherein blooms new altitudes
A call for other adventures, different vistas
Colors and sounds
Young sense, new desires

Still together
You and me
Forever

copyright 2016 Liliane Richman, all rights reserved

Winding through Ouachita:
For mom

Mozart in the mountains
Spaghetti road lacing the Ozarks
From foothills to headwinds
Weaving us back and forth
Hairpins and switchbacks tucked
Among trees of green fire,
Iridescent June bugs, cottoned in rising mist
Sheltering fawns, bears, bobcat
Diamond waterfalls, wind whispers and secrets,
Flowers of gold, purple and silver,
And ancient furled ferns
That reach across time and space
To brush my cheeks and tie me again,
Inextricably,
To you

copyright 2016 Adina Richman, all rights reserved

Mothers and Daughters: Red Square (a map of our mother’s closet circa 1972)

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We will know her by her symbolic attributes;
In her image neither lily nor byzantine purple signify.
We will note that in the hard-drawn felt-tip icon of the Mother God
She is ever shown wearing Red high heels.

Some colored squares in our territory’s mapped legend fade,
Re-worn and illegible as old confetti on a wet asphalt street
tracked back by our insistent, diminishing feet.
Others cling, vibrant in the hanging dark:
stripes of light cotton voile:
one turquoise,
one lime
green.

In more contemporary images we will note:
The hard-drawn, felt-tip Icon of the Mother God
Wears Red high heels. Her dress, now codified,
is the color of the first oak leaf in spring; however

it lacks the turquoise
of Texas’ summer skies.
This color cooled has flown
from our mother’s dress,
to hold light purchase only
in our daughters’ eyes.

by Bonnie McClellan

Mothers and Daughters: Intermittent Signal (Non c’è campo)

field

My sister’s voice
shattered across
an inconsistent, oscillating
field
stammering in and out
of being
then gone
but imprinted
on the field
not of you are here
but of you are this.

lack

My grandmother’s pearl
earrings oscillating
one black pearl one
the color of cream
thick with fat.
– she moves her head, lifting
her hands to speak
two palms holding up
a weightless field –
her lips move and issue
the sound of glass
sublimed

expansion

I am made up of stars that are not, or
the container of their memory:
fireworks cracking the saint’s day
of the insomniac night
I became not always
the one who leaves
but the one who is (for her)
the fertile field/the constant star.

dispersion

How long until she knows
what it is to be the glass
flowing into flatness,
ceding the vertical,
breaking the light,
into water?

by Bonnie McClellan

"non c'è campo" photograph by Bonnie Broussard

a note on the title: Italians often refer to a place in which there is no reception for mobile devices as “un posto dove non c’è campo” – although the word campo translates as field (with the same degree of semantic density as field in English) it also implies range or depth of field.

Mothers and Daughters: Terra Cotta

Peering into the narrow compact
Rectangle reflecting back:
The rumpled face of a woman
……….whose father is dying;
……….whose mother will die.

Under chin skin slags, begins
To give up the ghost of a woman
……….whose skin was once full
……….and firm as an egg.

Now, like a plastic bag full of slip,
When squeezed in the right places takes on
Then, temporary grace of a woman
……………who will also die;

Falling away into potsherds, unfired.
Falling away into sand, into clay.

by Bonnie McClellan

Tic - photo: Bonnie Broussard, sculpture: Matthew Broussard

Mothers and Daughters: Communicating Vessels

One year when the awakened plane trees
find themselves struck yellow in the night,
there will be nothing left of me but
a memory in your hands as they pull
wet laundry from the spun drum or
open the window’s case –
inviting October’s last, warm breath
to communicate the dust
between one room
and another.

by Bonnie McClellan