Sunday, April 27, 2014

Comes A Blossom Poems by Joanne DeSimone Reynolds

Comes A Blossom
Poems by Joanne DeSimone Reynolds
© 2014 Joanne DeSimone Reynolds
Main Street Rag, Charlotte, NC
ISBN  978-1-59948-468-6
Sofbound, $8, 31 pages

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

This is a book about a daughter’s love of her mother who has died and a memory of a brother, also deceased . It is about the relationship between mother-daughter, the author’s mother and the author’s daughter. It is about family.  Take White Gloves: a tender, touching, reflection requiring only a few words to convey emotion.

I love a pile of sugar
stained pink
by grapefruit wedges.

But then my mother turns from the sink
to tell a story
about my dead brother,
how he ate his grapefruit
without sugar.

I imagine him
as goodness itself.

It is Lent.
I rush to brush my teeth,
to put on lace anklets, white gloves
and a straw hat with a strap under my chin.

Kneeling in the pew I’m crowded
by fedoras and feathered hats
hung with riveted black veil.

Sins are a matter of sugar
and hats.

I hold my breath through a haze of incense
and though every other head is bowed
I lift my gaze to the windows
of stained glass—

A boy,
a lamb.

In a mere 25 lines you have learned how the mother remembers her son, how the poet recalls her brother and in the end it all falls back to religion and the love of a memory.
Reynolds poems reach out to us, they capture our emotions and express not only the poet’s own mortality but she ushers us into her introspective worlds to a humanity we might not have entered previously.  These words, these emotions are which connect the poet with the reader and to a larger awareness of one’s self.

There is the finality of existence:

Mount Auburn

It is the hour the sun wearis like a child in church.

I’m in a room with leaded glass window
though this is no chapel
to attest before my mother’s lien-wrapped form.

She is at rest on her side
as if tired of all the labor

Empty now.
Pallet-ready at the bronze door of the crematorium.

I tear red from roses—

scatter by the fistful—


lush and placental.

There is the opening of life: 

Comes A Blossom

As if you
tumbled through the stars, a shimmer
clings to you, the midwife
swooping in, a nurse turning from tending
to me. Gleaming too,

in a labor room pan
the dispossessed placenta
like the breast of a peony
clipped from its stem.
slightly metallic

its scent draws me in.
I could cup it in two hands, brush its ruffles
with my thumb, though I know
it is not what thrums. It bloomed
for you these nine months, but

you no longer need it—
the first of my goodbyes.

This is a brave, well thought volume of poetry executed with skill and humanity.

Zvi A. Sesling
Author, King of the Jungle and  Across Stones of Bad Dreams
Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review
Publisher, Muddy River Books
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7 & Anthology 8

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