Amma & Other Poems by Larry D. Giles

The Heroines Among Us

Follow along with Larry D. Giles as he explores women from his book, Father Tree Water! They are a wonderful addition to your Saturday dose of artistry!


Amma

I may have thought God was strange

when she climbed up—

the hammer jiggling

from the wet belt

she stole from her brother—

he had no nerve for heights

forever twiddled in a box.

She straddled eaves—

dangled

like one peel of a banana

hoped for though not yet eaten.

It was almost dark, a bird

had also left its wing. She cussed it down—

then pounded like the devil

for the nerve of rain—

that old man drowning

in a corner brown jar.

Hungry at the table,

I imagined air solid and soulful around her blue T-shirt.

Hearing that stunted nail,

I swear down below

a muscle grew from a hole

in my pocket—

rose from

the dull

wet ground

to the dry,

beautiful

heavens.


Girl with a Match

(after Alicia Keys)

This girl

pretty in pigtails

and afraid of matches,

who sucks her thumb

and rocks pink dolls in cradles,

bakes black mud pies

in little white stoves

along the shaded edge

of the field,

on the porch

scowls at kites,

dips just one toe in the river—

the one

I thought for years

was just my sister—

like a sun-struck pilot

today jumped

over the house

and then set

the woods

on fire.


The Woman Down

I would imagine the sink

to pull her down,

down with the ceiling

and leftover spaghetti,

my brothers and sisters

to peer in after shock,

waiting for her to spew out.

Down beneath the heavy day

of hamburger grease

and scabbed paint,

down with the bent forks

and gray-water spoons,

sucked like the head

of a chalk-soaked mop

from my wooden fingers,

scraping against powder-wet

porcelain and fear.

Till I thought for once

she would not pull back.

For once, she would not

wring out the darkness

and rank, rank dust,

though plastered there

above the lonely depths—

I could still hear Otis crooning,

still feel Martin’s moaning,

“We shall certainly overcome,”

my ghost-white siblings

wrestling in the wreckage

and crying for their daddy

to bring home

the wrench.

I thought for sure

she would be demolished,

completely choked

by that vacuous murkiness

the night he called

for the very last time,

she then twisted into a knot

of noodled flesh

so tight it would burst

into a thousand fibers.                               

But that night, too,

she was a plunger,

a great liquid voice

sticking to the walls

of that hideous hole in hell,

and each night she was

a plumber and a carpenter,

above all, the in-tact mother

who pushed up from drains,

looked out from sinks

and handed us tomorrow’s spoons

and saucers and plates,

that, though old and cracked,

still managed to glimmer,

beneath dim, dusty florescent

tubes and a squashed, yellow

ceiling that, like the sink,

somehow imagined it could keep

the woman down.


Poet:

Photo credit: The Essex County Museum and 
RiverCountyNews.Com

Larry D. Giles 

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Larry D. Giles grew up on a farm just outside of Battery, a small rural community several miles from the Rappahannock River. Educated at Livingstone College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Virginia, the writer has taught English and writing at his high school alma mater in Essex County and for the city of Richmond. While at Richmond, he received teacher of the year, the prestigious REB Award for Teaching Excellence, and an educational leadership fellowship. A Luard Morse nominee, he is co-author of Journey Home, with playwright Jacqui Singleton, a work produced in Richmond theatre. Larry has been published in The River City Poets Anthology 2019Better than Starbucks Magazine, The Bhubaneswar Review, and in other media. Available at http//www.lulu.com/spotlight/LDGiles2020 and released in 2019,  Father Tree Water: Collected Poems and Photographs of the Rappahannock Mind Body Spirit is the writer’s first published collection of poetry.

Larry’s poetry and creative nonfiction often center on family, rural Virginia life along the Rappahannock, and personal resilience and strength, with sometimes mystical multicultural interweavings.  His poems often ring with personal conviction and revelation, his prose nostalgic reverence, pathos and beauty.  Nominated twice by Better than Starbucks Magazine for Best of the Net for his Hoover Boys series, Larry currently resides in Richmond where he continues to write, paint, enjoy photography, and lead several online history and community education archives.

Follow:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/LDGiles2020

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