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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker's poems have appeared in journals such as The Hollins Critic, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and Poet Lore and anthologies including The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Her newest book is Gold (Cascade Books, 2013), and her poetry has been read many times on The Writer's Almanac.




On the boulevard, the Bradford pears

release their petals; they spill like salt

on the ground.  My grandmother would

have pinched up the granules, thrown them over

her shoulder to fool the evil eye. My mother

would have said Don't cry over what's spilled.

When we were in Brittany, we saw les artisan

paludiers harvest it by hand, marketed as fleur de sel,

the flower of salt.  When we poured my mother's ashes

in the ocean, they ran through my hands like grains

from a silver spout.  On the blue canister in my kitchen,

there's a little girl standing in the rain in a yellow dress,

the same can of salt under her arm, open, running out,

like those Dutch interiors repeating themselves in convex

mirrors.  Repeating like the bits of DNA in molecules

that become the coins in our ovaries' purse, doled out month

by month, drawn by the moon.  Long ago, someone tipped

some salt on a black skillet, and decided to call that spillage 'stars.'


first published in 5 AM, then Gold (Cascade Books, 2013)



Copyright, Barbara Crooker.
All Rights Reserved.