Thursday Dec 07

KrawiecRichard Richard Krawiec’s third book of poems, Women Who Loved Me Despite, will be published by Press 53 in early 2015.  His second book of poems, She Hands me the Razor, was also published by Press 53. He has also published two novels, a story collection, and four plays. His work appears in drunken boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Spillway, Blue Fifth Review, ampersand, storySouth, amd elsewhere.  He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council (twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  He teaches Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced online Fiction Writing for UNC Chapel Hill and won their Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009. Founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active publishing company, he has also worked extensively with people in homeless shelters, women's shelters, prisons, literacy classes, and community sites, teaching writing.


Ashes and Omens

Across the valley, rain sheets down
the mountainside, a stinging gale
that disperses to a double-rainbow.
One arc fades into clouds; the other curves
a brilliant spectrum into the plain. The mother calls
her dead son three times. She snaps her camera,
hoping to capture him in the frame of a photo;
his name echoes across the valley.
Slowly the rainbows fade, sun slips away, and
the sky fills with bats; she returns
to where the hawk screeches,
rips off threads of flesh, tips its beak up,
guzzles the tissue down. Now the mother paces
back to stare at the cacti, black and flat,
rimming the horizon. In sunset orange
they raise their thorny limbs;
she lowers her camera, listens to the hawk’s distant cry.

The mother throws clouds of ash into the canyon.
Sisters, in-laws, friends cast handfuls which drift
down to their feet, powder of dust and bone
settling on the leaves of the mountain laurel.
Everyone thinks the same thought, though none
can voice it—how many people
would be enough to liberate the dead? To save
the rest from the suffocation of living on?

Some things never end: energy, looped chords of music,
hammered bruises aching inside the cradle where
her son once twined his grasping hands.
The bereaved sit still, watch the slow ark dip beyond
the horizon, wonder why the sun does not stop rising.

Imagine Grief

Imagine grief is a red-shouldered kestrel
whirling sharp-eyed above joy’s stutter-
flight, and that joy is a migration
of green darner dragonflies,
wide-spaced illusion of swarm,
a cloud that flusters into flapping
fragments when the raptor plummets
so that once more you can see
but a smudged horizon line, distant, empty.