Bio Note: I have lived in three countries (Iceland, Denmark, and France) in addition to the U.S., and I've lived around the States (New Orleans, central Pennsylvania, and now Tucson, Arizona). I've been a poet, arts adminitrator, teacher, activist. While in Pennsylvania, I trained in conflict resolution with the Mennonites and became a trained mediator specializing in diversity issues in education. I'm retired now, and writing more. I have nine collections of poetry, most recently, In June the Labyrinth (2017). I co-authored When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina (interview-poems with photographs by Rebecca Ross ), published in 2010 in the University of New Orleans Press’ Engaged Writers Series.
A Swedish-Made Rocking Chair
My mother rocks me in the chair her grandfather made of the hard pine abundant at century’s turn, carved into the chair back’s burnished wood an abstract fleur de lis I could poke my fingers through as a child. I’m not a year and my mother’s already crying. She’d float in sorrow’s glimmer, the marine- blue lake her place of devotion, finding no other companion in nature. I’d look for her on that shore where for all her days she beckoned me to join her. Perhaps this memory’s false, I never heard my mother sing, Sadness is good, in perfect pitch, but only imagined how the rocking chair held her as she—seeing nothing would ever change—steeled herself.
But I Am Not Bitter
My first husband, zany as a sunflower, tart as sauerkraut, undertook infidelity as if he were climbing a mountain under a bright blue sky. Off he’d go for the summit, trailing the paraphernalia of lies like gorp. Although faithful, I knew well the binary narratives of self-pity, and didn’t doubt that when the mountain burned, I’d be the slurry, but I’d no understanding of logarithmic power, how he multiplied us and how many we eventually became. You just can’t use lovers like napkins, I said, when at last I understood. No, of course, let the pin prick, truth though rude be medicinal, and a pathology remain unredeemed by myth.
Why I Write (2)
Would you say You’re falling to the starry sky? You’re dirt to the root pushing a sprout up through earth’s crust? Go fiddle to the Apocalypse? Go figure to the geometry of disease? Come again to the Magi? Wait when spring’s about to bloom? A thought or impulse arrives before movement, at times pausing speech, which can be thought better of. In silence you pray that trouble curtail hatred, and bitter with sorrow sweeten, to keep the possible possible.
©2020 Cynthia Hogue
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL