My Grandmother Comes Back as Springtime
Her eyes open—bluebells and gentian
her cheeks shine apple blossom pink.
Her toes uncurl into petals on the grass.
She raises her arms—her hands unfurl.
She branches, white-crowned sparrows on each finger.
Leaves tiny as squirrel paws filter the breeze.
Her breath, sweet with butterflies and foraging bees,
powders sunbeam-slanted trees.
In the warmth of her hair, honey, pollen
and nectar the perfumes she wears.
I want to catch her in my arms and tell her
I love her—but she’s unmade the bed of herself—
now she’s rolling foothills filled with forests
skittering and lumbering with minks, and bears.
How can I entice her to stay?
But shh—she’s whispering a story
in windsong and meadowlarks.
The Old Shoe Remembers
wheat sweeping in great
undulations—how the horn
of the train a mile away whistled
in the middle of the night.
Our old square house squatted,
paint peeled away by dust storm after
dust storm, the heart of the house broken
beyond repair, doorknobs falling off, the floor
raising its splinters into my farm girl bare feet.
How we kids were stacked into one bedroom
like cordwood—our cots made of two-by-fours
one on top of the other lining the walls.
I sit here thinking of my mother’s
face—worn brown, cracked
as those floorboards—one baby or another
latched onto her long sorry breasts.
How my teacher said I might have
a book to read but I didn’t dare
take it home—afraid it would end up
in the pot-bellied stove for kindling
and how in the dull evenings
the radio, its nubby brown cloth
covering the speaker, broadcast
Bach and Stravinsky.
Dale Champlin is an Oregon poet with an MFA in fine art. She is the editor of Verseweavers. Dale has poems published in Willawaw, The Opiate, Visions International, San Pedro River Review, catheXis, and elsewhere. In 2019 She published her first collection The Barbie Diaries. Three collections, Isadora, Callie Comes of Age, and Andromina, A Stranger in America are forthcoming.