Wednesday 5 February 2014

3 Poems by Mary Harwell Sayler

Blood Thinners

He never wanted a tattoo, never
wanted to disobey the command in
Leviticus 19 that says not to pierce
the flesh on account of the dead
or tattoo any marks upon you or
turn to mediums or wizards or sell
your daughters into slavery. Too
much ownership does not wear well
on anyone.

Ever since the surgeon inserted three
stints around his heart to pierce the
pallor of his skin and release
tiny clots from captivity
in the veins,
the medications made
his skin thin along with less
coagulated blood.

Now if you rub him the wrong way
or the dog plays too roughly or he
bumps into almost any medium
of harshness,
his skin tears like tissue paper
or leaves a dark red mark like
a rusty rose tattoo.

Circling The Sixties

Nineteen-forties–fifties cool, you nail her to
the wall with “why” about those “white” and
“colored” signs of times down South where she
came from, and when she can’t explain, except
to say, “I was a child,” you snap some platitude
on doing right, which means, at least in public
restrooms, “How could you pee?” Would you
feel better knowing she went only in emergency?
You try again with questions like, “Why did you
live like that?” And she inquires, “Like how?”

At home with what she’s known about respect,
no matter where the finger pointed, dare she point
to a time when Native Americans lived inside a
concrete block or ask why blacks do not attend
your all-white church, still barren of Hispanics,
or why her son so nicely dressed was barred by a
pair of sandals from a place where the hostess was
too ignorant to know the cost of Birkenstock’s?

Oh, who knows what prices other people pay?

Resting Place

The relatives hang over my head,
frames ranging from painted gold
to distressed walnut. I’m not one to
talk with or about them, except to
wonder what they did to make you
seem wary and restrained, disdaining
final rest in this black plastic frame.


Mary Harwell Sayler began writing poems as a child but, as an adult, wrote almost everything except poetry. Her credits include 24 traditionally published books of fiction and nonfiction, over 200 poems in anthologies, journals, or e-zines, and two Kindle e-books on poetry. In 2012 Hiraeth Press published her book Living in the Nature Poem and, later that year, she began the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook. She also blogs, offer poetry critiques through her website, and enjoys bike riding on the sand roads around her home in rural Florida.

1 comment:

  1. Love you words, Mary. Love to read your works. Thank you. Carol Castagna