KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, launched May of 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including Pandemic Evolution (2021), In Plein Air (2017) and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.
Catching Light with a Net
Blue ghost fireflies and grandmother’s teapot
haunt my porch, frogs and crickets once again
saturating the night with song.
This year the cicadas will join in – seventeen years
since last we heard their cadence.
Grandmother’s only been gone eleven this Thanksgiving:
family holidays always at her house,
warm Florida sun soaking our skin.
When I first moved to the mountains, I lost
the flat horizon. It didn’t take long for hues
and tints to wash my senses, more than sea and sand
in my new color wheel. Spring and autumn
evenings alive here – they vibrate, infuse the air.
Salt heals, but there are only so many shades of blue.
Rock, not water, connects this hard-packed soil.
My grandmother rarely asked for anything.
Daughter of the Depression, her family grew or made all they had.
When I told her I was traveling across the Pond,
she bounced on her toes, said she’d always dreamed
of owning a blue and white china teapot. I explored
London’s clustered sidewalks and stores until I found
the perfect porcelain, cradled it all the way home.
Grandmother sipped tea on the lanai, savored it
with orange and lemon dawns. The year before
her memory failed, she gifted items to each of us –
the teapot was one of mine, small cracks
webbing the glaze. Now I breathe its steam,
careful of the chipped lid, watching blue ghost fireflies
ignite the night, cicada wing and husk scattering the porch,
both as elusive as grandmother’s smile,
as bright and loud as her love.