Joan Mazza



Cool summer morning without plans, no company

to clean for. Squirrels, front paws at their breasts,

and two titmice wait for breakfast on the deck.

A whole day stretches out, a meadow waiting

for me to lie down to read and write. I fill

the feeders with seed, replenish sugar water

for the hummingbirds, freshen birdbaths,

sprinkle basil and parsley. Easy summer,

no woolens or makeup. No bra. I wear soft

and sun-faded long shirts to let in the breeze.

Before July unfolds its warming blanket

on the day, I pick cucumbers, Swiss chard,

beans, last lettuce, first Roma tomatoes,

wash and sort for soup and salad, pull weeds

and water eggplant. In the simple life of summer,

my garden welcomes and gives, like the woods

in Sound Beach where my sister and I picked

buckets of raspberries and shrieked at dragons

landing on hair and arms. For days, my mother

boiled the jam and sealed the surface of jars

with paraffin, poured from a coffee can

on the open fire. No one helped her.

By afternoon, my minestrone soup simmers,

twelve containers to fill, label and date.

The day skates off on cloud wisps, sealed

with the wax of chores my mother taught.

The simple life is complicated, no time to read

or write until snow falls.




Used bookstore closing, I buy ten books

on fabric arts, fingers tingling to grasp

thread and yarn, needles and crochet hooks.

I yearn for the textures of fabrics—

silky, nubbed, soft or crinkly, sounds as they pass

over one another, tricks to make them drape

or lay flat. In thirty years, I've sewn nothing

more than hems on jeans, but the details

of smocking, gathered threads, and cut-out

work call to me. I drool in the aisles

of textile stores, love animal prints,

rickrack and ribbon, pinking sheers and pins.

In my twenties, I sewed all my clothes: A-line

dresses, polyester knit pantsuits, bell bottoms

and sheaths, spent hours embroidering blouses.

I stitched until the last minute, scraps

and patterns still on the floor as we rushed

out the door for Christmas dinner.

While Anthony drove, I hemmed the sleeves

of a wool jacket that matched my skirt.

I keep those books like scrapbooks.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, certified sex therapist, writing coach, and seminar leader. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam 1998), and her work has appeared in Potomac Review, Mobius, Permafrost, Slipstream, Timber Creek Review, Writer's Digest, The Fourth River, the minnesota review, Personal Journaling, and Playgirl. Her chapbook, Mom's Little Destruction Book, was runner-up in the Permafrost Contest, and her poem, "When We Were Students" won the 1st Skyline Magazine Summer Poetry Contest, 2007, and was published in A Hudson View Poetry Digest, fall 2007. She now writes poetry full-time in rural central Virginia.



Current Issue
Contributors' Notes

Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: John Koethe

Bruce Bennett

Jane Blue

Debra Bruce

Phillip Calderwood

Ann Cale

Michael Catherwood

Christina Daub

Nancy Devine

Paul Fisher

E. Laura Golberg

Erica Goss

Paul Grayson

Gabe Heilig

Heather Hughes

Rich Ives

Rose Kelleher

Douglas Korb

Mary Ann Larkin

Lyn Lifshin

Doris Lynch

Katie Manning

Laura Manuelidis

Bonnie Maurer

Joan Mazza

Judith McCombs

Rachel McGahey

Claire McGoff

Joe Mills

Jean Nordhaus

Scott Owens

William Page

Rhodora Penaranda

Jacklyn Potter

Oliver Rice

Elisavietta Ritchie

A.L. Rodenberg

Marybeth Rua-Larsen

Tania Runyan

David Salner

E.M. Schorb

Lynda Self

Janice D. Soderling

Jim Solomone

Jack Stewart

John Surowiecki

Sharlie West














Last Updated: Mar 10, 2021 - 2:35:35 PM

Copyright 2005 - 2021 Cook Communication.