Bio Note: My name reveals my French heritage but I am equal parts Irish--my mother's parents were both born and raised in Ireland and I have always enjoyed the Celtic holiday of Halloween and always find some way to mark it. I also mark the anniversary of the loss of loved ones, though often only to myself. Culturally, Americans are conditioned not to look back and as a group we do not mark such anniversaries, though many other cultures do. These two poems are included in my collection Crave (from NYQ Books); my other full-length books are Appetite for the Divine and Remorseless Loyalty (both from Ashland Poetry Press).
Years have passed since I last entered a church to be a part of those rituals of chant, vestment, statuary, and incense from which I am also descended, yet October ends and I find myself elbow-deep in a vegetable once again, scooping out the skull of a jack-o’-lantern hands slicked with the vivid mess, acolyte to the animate knife, eager for that lurid face blazing its eyes against the long, deep dark.
for my father Jews call it yarhtzeit, the Bangladeshi shraadh. Intent as we are with getting over, getting on, Americans have no term. October again, and the trees make such a pageantry of loss: orpiment, vermilion, cadmium leaves quiver in the steel wind that bites them free. In the long remembering of trees you are nearly there where you are not, and have not been some nine years now. I am at home here in the cascade of their radiant perishing.
©2021 Christine Gelineau
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