By Edward Butscher

In the green egg

of a nursing oak

I sense the sinew urge

of a resurgent spring,

fingering its lizard skull

like a miniature mine

left behind

by the war


while remembering

that morning journey

into her wrecked mind

where demons wore white—

weaned from her bed

by love and a need

to be relieved

of her needs.


In the mouths of blossoms

I smell urine-bleached

petticoats, her flaccid

loins rain-plumped

worms underfoot.


Past silent houses

and green carpets

of this Flushing town

she never understood,

I plowed her

feather weight

wishing bell peppers

and tomato tongues

could sound our breaths.


Older than she,

a porch-proud friend

sat smug above

our slow passage,


defending her soil

with rag-flagged sticks

waving goodbye

waving goodbye

 like whips of gull wings

lacerating sun-lit air.


In restless fragments

of the sky’s broken


shell, in clumsy wing heaps

hacking at heaven’s bodice,

(I hear her climb)

grandmother vine.

“Mama mia!”

she sang aloud

like a lost child


or was it “Eddie”

she accused

as the axis of her wheelchair

groaned from the earth,

turning on hollow

catacomb bones?


The ghost of a barber

husband was a calla lily

haloing her maize-fine hair

when the glasshouse winked,

smiled, swallowed her whole.


We left her there

I leave her there

one maple-tense day

each returning spring

without even a donkey

to bray her home


or root up the stranger

who plants her there to die.


Poet, critic, and literary biographer, Edward Butscher resides with his wife, Paula Trachtman, in Greenport, Long Island. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies since 1976. Collections of his poetry include Poems About SilenceAmagansett Cycle, and Child in the House. His biography Sylvia Path: Method and Madness, was the first of that poet, and Conrad Aiken: Poet of White Horse Vale won the Melville Kane Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Comments are closed.