This is how I answer my mother when she asks what I'm going to do with my life Green, I tell her, 38 shades. Chartreuse, is my favorite of course.
I have always loved Viridian, I say. Sage, Juniper, Fern. She creases her brow.
I say Pistachio. Pickle. Seafoam. Sea.
You always wanted to study the ocean she says, Yes, follow your heart.
I say Forest, Pine, Pine Needle, Spruce.
Trees are good, she agrees, I studied botany while I was pregnant with you, it's in your blood.
Like Paris! I exclaim, Caribbean, India, Pakistan, my eyes glow Celadon in the Darkening Moss of night.
Well, she says, I don't have a passport, but spread your wings, Shamrock, I will wait here for you.
Thyme passes. I am Harlequin, it is Christmas.
When I move to Los Angeles everything is Xanadu, Road Sign Green, Green Screen.
Everything is Vivid, Maximum, Lightsaber.
When my father dies suddenly during my first pregnancy we go home to her. Avocado, I say, placing her hand on my belly,
Spring. Spring Bud. Bottle Green. Her hands fold together over her face like a Mantis, I stroke her cheek, I say Granny Smith Apple. We are crying together with smiles on our faces in the Bright Mint of day. My Bitter Lime becomes a Limerick, I write it all down.
* Title is a line from Daniel Liu's poem “Return Home,” in Adroit Journal.
The Museum of Lost Bodies
We found ourselves in an ancient library of light whose books had folded wings for covers. I loved the quiet shift that happened—how the air made gods out of long vowels in my mouth.
It’s how the living carry what is eternal for awhile. After we die—we weigh twenty-one grams less. This is the weight of wakefulness, light as seven hummingbirds.
For whom will we unfold our true names? If brave enough, or broken enough, we turn from all that is false in this tango of leavings and returns.
This is how it happens—let all the walls, rooms, tables and chairs shrink and crumble, soften to one smooth horizon—the mica chips of stars smolder. As though the sky had finally come for you.
This is the journey we are all on. Moving like a heron flying low over the water—slip from your dayskin. There is a place you belong among the names.
(salt moon penny moon broken violin moon) Your hands are full of sky----a sheen of green bottleglass. At night the salt-swell calls in baritone and you come out in a simple vanishing.
Braided Cento: Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky, Sounds True, 2017 Joyce Sidman, What the Heart Knows, Clarion Books, 2013 Jennifer K. Sweeney, Salt Memory, Main Street Rag, 2006
-- Sandra Crouch, MA, is a poet, artist, letterpress printer, and recent transplant to Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has been published in HAD, MER Literary, Rogue Agent, Rust+Moth, SWWIM, West Trestle Review and elsewhere.