Witness the blooming of April’s expectations and memories with poems by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, Jim Zafris, Mike Jurkovic and April Lindner.
March winds bring April showers, they say. This year, the March heat brought daffodils and forsythia to my Baltimore yard. Nevertheless, as we’re moving from March to April, a couple poems at least ostensibly about wind and weather.
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro said she’s loved mythology ever since she encountered it in grade school. Here’s her poem about wind and children and youth and Persephone and her mother Demeter, “The Wind Has Picked Up.”
The white clusters
of petals that only bloomed
this week cling
to the pear trees
like Persephone grabbing
Demeter’s hands the moment
before the first frost.
You, my daughter, came without your kids.
You slept in your childhood bed,
the covers pulled up to your chin,
I was young again.
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s poem “The Wind Has Picked Up” from Passager’s Winter 2015 issue. All that was missing was the pomegranate.
Jim Zafris said, “Last year my wife and I were driving from Columbus to Chicago when we passed through an enormous windmill farm. There was an otherworldly feeling to it until I looked across the fields and saw a rusted fence.” And from that came his poem “Wind in Indiana.”
Did you notice as we rode
All those weightless things
Blown against the fence that
Ran along a field of winter wheat?
Plastic bags, napkins, a paper cup –
Their travels interrupted.
How hard to roam these days:
Even a gypsy camp stays put.
The fields drift past. For us
The highway’s straight,
No end in sight. Let’s not stop
At all tonight.
“Wind in Indiana,” Jim Zafris, from Passager’s 2013 Poetry Contest issue.
Next, from Passager’s Winter 2013 issue, “Passing Shower” by Mike Jurkovic.
I come from a long line of weathermen
who swore Noah’s storm a passing shower.
As the last son before nine daughters –
all of whom shattered the glass ceiling
by founding girlweather.com –
it was up to me
to keep the website current.
Freaky weather hit anytime, post-industrial,
and it was getting worse.
Mary swore the extinction winter
was seven Tuesdays away.
Beth always saw rain,
gloomy girl that she was.
Tina, well, she liked the moon
and the lonely cool of autumn.
Molly, her twin, loved upheaval.
Kate married the king of taut convolutions,
had four kids and didn’t give a damn
which way the wind blowed.
I loved all my sisters, even if they were
crazier than shit-house rats
and often revised their forecast
Like Amber and Anita,
the second set of twins
who loved the New York heat.
Expensive humidity was Gaby’s bag,
the girl liked sweat, pure ’n simple.
Mo’ kept it real,
I loved her for that.
“There’s a storm a-comin’”
she’d always say.
Mike Jurkovic “Passing Shower.” Mike said, “Since our weathermen and women really are at the mercy of climate change, they don’t know what’s going to happen. I just decided to mistake Noah’s Great Flood as a passing shower and took it from there.”
And finally, since it’s almost April, a poem not about April but by April, April Lindner: “Genealogy.”
Start with the self, your name
encircled on the page, a swollen bud.
A lattice of branches
forks from boughs that gesture back
in time figured as space
to that point
where the names trail off, forgotten.
As far as memory can travel
won’t be far enough.
seeing back to the single source,
imposing trunk, the terminus
where every soul began.
Still, you’ve devised a map
to pinpoint your spot in time,
like a spiderweb, proof of the path
flesh took through air –
dotted with stray facts and proper names,
half remembered faces.
Even the nameless ones
resolve into a slow procession –
figures robed in shadow,
each bearing a candle, wearing
features like stone rubbed smooth –
drawing slowly forward as if
to know you, as if to trace
a genealogy in reverse,
to study your strange face
for a hint of resemblance
through the smoky scrim of generations.
April Lindner’s poem “Genealogy” from Passager’s Winter 2019 issue. April said, “Growing older has made me acutely aware of how little remains of our stories once we die. I am curious about those who came before me, but there’s only so much I will ever fathom about them, despite DNA tests, record searches, and all my best efforts.”
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For Kendra, Mary, Christine, Rosanne, and the rest of the Passager staff, I’m Jon Shorr.
Due to the limitations of online publishing, poems may not appear in their original formatting.