Threshold Excerpts


where mothers prop themselves, welcoming, waving, mostly waiting.  You
are a frame your child passes through, the safest place to stand when the
shaking starts.  You brace yourself.  He draws you like this, arms straight
out, too stick-thin but the hands are perfect, splayed like suns, long
fingers, the hands he draws for you are huge.  Thresh, hold: separate the
seeds, gather them back.  In his pictures you all come close to holding
hands, though the fingers of your family never touch; you’re in the middle
of all this reaching.

Everywhere the Earth Is Opening

After eight dry months of dirt,
this morning glowed all grass
and my pomegranate bush
finally boasted its knobby fruit.

Though mistakenly called apple
in that first search for skin
through the vine, I mean
another myth, another love altogether:

I mean that fruit that draws a curtain of earth
between mothers and daughters.
First light, I stooped low to the ground
but there were no deals to make

—she is dying, my mother’s mother,
and won’t make it till I touch down—
so I plucked each red bead
and littered them on the lawn, left them.

Mother, how can you possibly be next?
Everywhere the earth is opening
into slits that smell alive
and, between them, blooms.

Follow me, step into the soil.
Forget the fields.  Let the others look.
We will always be daughters
and the dazzling seeds go down easy.