Sunday, May 10, 2015


Jane Blue's mother, Jane Eshleman Conant,
at the Abbot murder trial, Oakland, 1955

—Jane Blue, Sacramento

She shows me a room in her chalet––
the bed, the high pine ceiling
fit for a giant; a headboard

padded with golden cloth; a stream
opens in it, then a waterfall, then
a torrent she can no longer ignore.

I'm high in foothills, no trees, just orange
dirt around the house and snakes
of roads coiled below. I call my mother

on a black rotary phone to come
and get me. "I'm afraid you'll get lost,"
I say. I myself am hopelessly lost.

I'm sitting at a long picnic table;
someone comes to tell me my mother
has died and I burst into tears.

Suddenly she is there beside me
tall and silver-haired, and I say:
Why did no one tell me you aren't dead.


—Jane Blue

They call me Ora, mouth. I am solitary
I am lizard. I am scaly and large.

I am afraid of nothing, except the scream
of the volcano, the smell of fire, and you tourists.

When the man wants me, he tramps out
of his hiding place on the other side of the island.

He presses his snout against me, flicks his tongue.
He is asking a question. Am I receptive?

If the answer is no, I inflate my great hinged neck
and hiss. Would you like to hear me?

Unlike your man, he takes no for an answer.
When the answer is yes––when volcano, fire

and you threaten our very existence,
I lay 20 or 30 eggs in an abandoned turkey nest.

No one ever asked me why I had so many children.
No one ever asked me if they were all his.

No one ever asked me why I move from place to place.
No one ever asked me to join the PTA.

No one ever blamed me for eating some of the eggs.
No one ever blamed me for my shark teeth

or for the deadly bacteria that lives in my mouth.
No one ever blamed me for preferring solitude.

No, not at all. They said it was my nature
and placed me on the endangered species list.

(first pub. in Mamazine, 2005)

—Medusa, with thanks to Jane Blue for today's fine Mother's Day fare!

—Anonymous Photo