Marion Starling Boyer has four published poetry collections. Her most recent is The Sea Was Never Far (Main Street Rag, 2019). A poem in this collection was selected as “Best of the Net” and another was a finalist in The Atlanta Review’s 2018 International Competition. Boyer’s other books are: The Clock of the Long Now (Mayapple Press); Composing the Rain, winner of Grayson Books 2014 Poetry Chapbook Competition; and Green (Finishing Line Press). Individual poems of Boyer’s have found homes in numerous literary journals, most recently Rabbit, The Tishman Review, Pedestal Magazine, Grey Sparrow Journal, Escape into Life, and Parhelion.
Suddenness filled our separate worlds
the day I saw the fox and the fox saw me.
Her tapered nose quivered
and the space between us hummed.
I hollowed myself to go still.
It was green moment, pure
as shafts of light fingering
through leaf lace in a forest
until her body shifted and the air
became brittle as film ice.
On legs of smoke she sped,
her russet tail a streamer in the underbrush.
I know a few tricks to remove the white rings
sweaty glasses leave on polished tabletops:
a hairdryer on low, a light buff with extra fine
steel wool or mayonnaise rubbed into the grain.
My mother and grandmothers kept their dining room
tables shining. For company, the table was protected
by a thick, custom-made pad and pressed tablecloth.
Our family guards a glossy surface.
In rainswept Scottish glens more than five
thousand years ago, humans hunched over
flat tables of sandstone to peck patterns
of cups and rings into the rock.
Cups and rings, circles within circles were carved
in stone on every continent people have lived.
I’ve seen on the face of one sandstone rock in Utah’s
canyonlands thousands of petroglyphs –
antelope, buffalo, men on horseback, bighorn sheep
and circles like wheels, circles that spiral, rings
like water rippling – each carving an anecdote
of ancient triumphs, of tribal news.
I wish now for a long wooden table handed down
by my people. I want its surface littered with rings
left when the family gathered, laughing, feasting.
I want rings to mark my mother’s grief, some emblem
for the time we lost my infant sister, Joan. The death
we could never speak about. White rings in the wood
from late night brooding over bills, from too much drink,
every dull halo from our wet glasses overflowing.
The day moon floats in the high blue.
A paraglider circles, dips his bright wing.
Orange and yellow maple leaves drift,
spiral. Turkey buzzards skim bare branches
of the patchy woods and we begin
to end the year softly. See how the river stops
churning, opens here like welcoming hands.
For so long we’ve breathed little sips of air,
but in this moment of grace let us sigh
the paraglider into his wide turn,
watch him lower with the rose gold sun,
drop lightly to his feet, running on cool grass.