Wednesday 20 April 2016

1 Poem by Mary Ann Cain


Hummingbirds perch
instead of hover.
How do I recall a whole
I never had?
What was broken is now 

broken as new spaces.
To recover is going deep
into the drumbeat
wing of a bird. I fear
the palm reader,
Aruna, in India 20 years before
forecasting fragility despite
my 80 years expected.
Of course I want more than a finite 

sound. In West Africa
drums speak overtones,
the ancestral hole a secret hand
not known to this drum
except inside the goat’s
skin. Broken
horn, broken bone:
Why go back 

to broken? The new breaks and the old.
Limbs. Fractured. The new ones
do not repeat themselves nor the old
full of sorrow
sound I never had, may never
recover. To re-cover is to clothe, go
deep into the drum beat
wing of a bird. A fear
I see, hear, in the bones
of the palm reader’s hand. 


Mary Ann Cain’s fiction, nonfiction essays, and blurred genre publications have appeared in literary journals ranging from venerable standards such as The Denver Quarterly, The Sun: A Magazine of Ideas , The Bitter Oleander and The North American Review to experimental venues such as First Intensity and LIT. Her novel, Down from Moonshine, was published by Thirteenth Moon Press in 2009. Her recent critical work on writing theory and praxis includes a collaborative book (with Michelle Comstock and Lil Brannon), Composing Public Space: Teaching Writing in the Face of Private Interests (Heinemann 2010). She has also published a monograph on writing workshops, Revisioning Writers’ Talk (SUNY Press 1995), as well as numerous articles and book chapters about writing and writing instruction. She is currently Professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne where she teaches fiction writing, rhetoric, and women’s studies. Her latest project is a nonfiction book about the legacy of Chicago artist-teacher-activist Dr. Margaret Burroughs. 

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