Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All Shapes And Sizes

 Families come in all shapes and sizes....
Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Eve wept through a planned darkness
going though the tangles of guilt
that filled up[ the exit like trees;

she suffered as long as she could
then tattooed her left hip
with an apple and became a belly dancer.

celebrating the birth of all her daughters
who would be born
to mothers of the future.

(first published in Potpourri, 1996)


—Joyce Odam

One by one we lose ourselves in the shadows.
How many of us are there?

We bunch together and try to belong.
We learn to love each other.
We learn the movement of stealth,
migrating over the night
until we reach
more shadow.

Ah, family!
Ah, reunion!

(first published in Cotyledon 22, 2001)


—Joyce Odam

The man with the pony was generations old and would
coax the reluctant mothers with his camera and smile.
The pony would turn its red and dangerous eyes toward
the children who wanted to ride in the shy and creaking
cowboy circle. It was always summer for ponies and
children and the dusty man with the camera—the man they
would never see again—who would take all their names
and their mamas’ household money to pay for their
pictures. The pony would stand listless after the
children were lifted from the saddle. Its sleepy eyes
would close and the children would fade small and far
away—into their memory of this—into the sepia snapshots
in their mamas’ albums.


—Joyce Odam

Standing pretty against the shiny blackness of
the family car, she holds still for the focus; the
curved window of the car throws back the view.
Her anonymous features vanish under sunlight’s
glare—her hands full of flowers—her foolish hat
askew—a soft wind rumpling against her skirt.
She is caught in that captured moment eternity
loves. Time is hers—and she belongs to time.

(first published in Poets' Forum Magazine)



the sad stranger in the portrait
with the accusing eyes

and I who love strangers
feel the eyes follow

my eyes
that try to look away

and the portrait pulls me back
and I almost weep with regret

for what I may have done
and I accept my guilt

and the gold frame shudders
in a burn of hard light to brand me

—Joyce Odam


—Joyce Odam

what evolution this—the
grinning figure at the edge of

love like some old granny rememberer
pointing her finger and laughing

and we all twined together
in generations of delicate shift

as though we were painted thinly
on crepe paper—

we bleed—
the least touch of anything

and we are changed—
and though the poses are the same

the dye is run between us
like a change of mind

(first published in Ark River Review, 1972)


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

The doll is left in sacrifice—
arms raised and staring at the door
the child goes through as childhood’s price;
of all such stories there is more—
but that’s what mystery is for.

(first published in Poets' Forum Magazine)


—Medusa (with thanks to D.R. and Joyce for today's contributions! Time for another Seed of the Week: Local Landscapes. Do with it what you will—landscapes outside us, inside us, backgrounds or foregrounds, country mouse or city mouse. Send your poetic, artistic or photographic SOWs to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. If landscaping doesn't tickle you, try any of the SOWs listed on our Calliope's Closet page (under the Snake on a Rod on the b-board)—or send us any subject whatsoever! No deadlines on SOWs.)

Photo by D.R. Wagner