The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Myrna Stone

As I Grow Older


This dearth of memory’s one more death, loss

so entrenched I’ve learned to accustom myself

to its canker, while all the while the dark gloss

of the deeper past glimmers, burnishing itself:

absent for months, my mother reappears now,

loitering near me as I scrub a soup pot, urging

me to scour harder until it gleams. . . . Winnow

the chaff, she coaxes as she departs, following

the frozen path into our woods. Remembrance

is like that—apt or not, then altered and gone,

though today she lingers still in the fragrance

of her French perfume, its extravagant balm

of jasmine, rose, and civet, that my brother

brought from across an ocean like a lover.

My Mother’s Joy


From across an ocean he returned to her,

her second-born, brilliant in his bell-bottomed

undress whites, a duffel bag riding his shoulder

plumped with Latinate goods: sumac’s lemon-

like tartness and the grassy aromatic of saffron,

a rosary carved from the dark, pigmented heart

of an ancient olivewood, a comb, a brush, a satin

scarf of azure. And if there was shyness and no art

in the flourish with which he presented her Patou’s

ounce of alchemy, he neither stopped nor hesitated.  

In what was then left of her life, a smallish span

in the scheme of things, she wore it to intimate

her own joy in moment after moment, its scent

alive as the pulse points at her wrists and throat.

Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication