Two poems from Mood Indigo
This shot’s in washed out sepia: my father, a choir boy, about
to leave his childhood behind, Glory be to the father and to the son,
and to the Holy Ghost. His hair, already recalcitrant, holds a crooked
centre parting with the help of Brylcreem (a little dab’ll do ya).
His surplice is trimmed with lace not unlike a christening dress,
but here the angel-wing sleeves ripple over nail-bitten hands,
his missal. His face is shadowed by a ponderance of trees that crowd
into the background, their leaves bronze crescents spattered against
the sky above the unkempt garden at Wyndtryst, the family estate
already in decay. The sullen droop of his lips will nudge him
into the next phase of his boyhood, a pout on its way south to Virginia,
into the care of the Shenandoah Valley Military Academy in the hope
a good stiff uniform will straighten him out, force him to surrender
his idle daydreams for a weapon, when all he ever craved was
an Olivetti to tap out his first novel like D.H. Lawrence or Thomas Wolfe.
It is Wolfe who will teach him he can’t go home again.
Seen from Below
He’d be restless until nightfall when he could
slip out the back door, his city man feet,
long and slim; dew from the lawn seeping
between his perfect white toes. Moon-mad
he couldn’t wait to see it; to remind himself
if it was crescence or decrescence; whether its face
was the same as last night when he thought
it must be waning. And long ago, no different:
setting up camp in the high Sierras — Ruby and I
wrestling with the tent in the dark –
me a scrap of an eight year old, holding the centre pole
upright; staking each corner, mallet at the ready;
he insisting we stop, come and look — look at the moon –
the stars. See, he’d cry, Orion’s belt, the Big Dipper,
Arcturus — how clear the Milky Way looks from here.
Something in his voice made me drop the mallet
before the next bang, turn my face to the sky,
to the whole glittering tent of it —
the Big Dipper, pouring and pouring droplets
of light from the heavens for us.
U.S.-born retired psychotherapist, Wendy Klein is published in many magazines and anthologies. Winner of the Cinnamon Press Single Poem Competition 2015, she has two collections from Cinnamon Press: Cuba in the Blood (2009) and Anything in Turquoise (2013) with a third, Mood Indigo, Oversteps Books, newly published (April 2016).