Mary Ann Larkin




Goldenrod


I saw my golden-haired son
leap in a green meadow,
making the mess of my life golden too.
And I wrote it down, how he leapt
in a green yard in Pennsylvania,
scribbled it in a book’s margin.
Later, I sat alone
in a field of goldenrod
and wrote that down too.
And when I went back to my life,
I told Barbara: “I think I wrote a poem.”
I read it to her—pages and pages
to my patient beautiful friend—
dead now for decades.
“Why,” she said, “it’s a hymn to goldenrod.”
I still see her grace, her gravity, her carefulness
as she listened, and, now, I play it all back:
the goldenrod and the listening,
Barbara’s blue eyes, her chin in her hand.
But even today, I can find no words
for that listening.
I need a metaphor,
the way everything sacred does
for what’s unsayable and rare,
for what floats just above speech,
for what lasts: hard and unearned.



Mary Ann Larkin is the author of That Deep and Steady Hum (Broadkill River Press), as well as five chapbooks. Her work has also appeared in anthologies, magazines, and Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. In Cleveland in the 70’s, she co-founded the Big Mama Poetry Troupe, a group of five feminists who toured from Chicago to New York. She’s been awarded residencies at the Jentel Foundation and at Yaddo. She’s earned her living as a writer and a teacher, most recently at Howard University. She has lived in the Washington, DC, area since 1977, as well as in North Truro, Massachusetts.











                                    

 

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