BY AMIE WHITTEMORE
Sour cherries splattering the burnt lawn
and a black dog with its clover necklace.
Rabbit caught, a fluttering heart in my palms.
Wagons piling with gold beads of soybeans,
sweet pop of pods chaffing the yard.
My grandmother like a queen in all this, distant,
as if always on the swing hung from the oak.
Charmer, even the dog would hold her hand
in its mouth. Who wouldn’t want to please her?
Woman who tucked her dresses into overalls
to haul corn with my grandfather,
who knew grosbeak, goldfinch, junco,
whose call pulled swans to her like water.
How to answer when she asked, standing
beside her old photograph, if she was beautiful?
Sunset-colored hair, eyes two pools singing
about the sky. I’d go back now and ask—
nothing. Whatever lies between fact
and invention is too slim to matter.
Just let me draw near them—small self
and grandmother, braiding clover—a bee
fretting their hair, seeking blossom.
Amie Whittemore earned her MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in North American Review, Smartish Pace, Gettysburg Review, Cimarron Review, The Hollins Critic, Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. She won a 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, the 2012 Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Prize, and a fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center in July 2011. Currently, she lives and works in Charlottesville, VA.