Edited by Barry Kitterman | Andrea Spofford | Amy Wright
Ordinary Psalm After Failing Another Child
I walk home through an abandoned citrus orchard.
Pick a wild orange, though the tree is frost-burned,
the sudden cold like an astonished silence
after a beating no one promised, but there it is--
ice lacing the pond, star-frost bedded in clover.
Even the deer tuck themselves into underbrush
like dark blisters on a moment no one can reach.
Think of the shot-out nightlights around a soul.
Or that boy in my office this evening, staring
at the clock. Wordless. Angry. I hate my past,
he blurted out, So why ask me to remember?
Now, I pause at the orchard’s end, under the asterism
that composes Orion’s belt. Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka.
Each star as one more argument between demolition
and wonder. Soon I’ll take off my gloves.
Bite the fruit’s bitter skin to begin.
How many times must I be surprised?
It cannot be hurried. Each globe must hang
numb inside its lovely jacket. All day, all night,
learning its particular portion of sunlight, of rain.
Julia B. Levine’s collection, Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight, (LSU Press, 2014) was awarded the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. Her previous full-length poetry collections, Ask and Practicing for Heaven, were respectively awarded the Tampa Review Poetry prize, the Anhinga Poetry prize, and a bronze medal from Foreword magazine. She has also been awarded the Discovery/The Nation Award, as well the Pablo Neruda Poetry award from Nimrod.