April 5, 2016

At Saylesville Pond by Mary Jo Balistreri

 Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen,
            we take death to reach a star.  Vincent Van Gogh

The poignancy of this spring morning falls
heavy as I replay the doctors words:
This is the last trip she will take.

I sit on the iron bench by the pond—frozen 
with the thought of her dying, living with her absence.
Water splashes over stone. 
An occasional carp gets caught in the sun.

Along the reedy fringes of the marsh, dragonflies
hover over dankness to mate. One darts forward,
then back, spirals down only to be towed upward
by a male, a path difficult to follow.

My eyes rest on the aluminum boat, anchored
to the dock, oars stilled as they lay flat on weathered boards,
quiet seeping into me like medicine.

A glint of orange flits around the milkweed.
A raven’s hoarse scree scratches the air. A breeze
brushes my shoulder, startles me with its breath
and I wonder
if it really does take death to reach a star.

Mary Jo Balistreri has two books of poetry by Bellowing Ark Press, a chapbook by Tiger's Eye Press, and a tiny chapbook their Infinities series.  Poetrystorehouse has made videos and a soundscape for three of her poems. She is widely published, and enjoys getting together with other poets for readings and workshops. Please visit her at maryjobalistreripoet.com.


  1. What a beautiful poem, Mary Jo :)

  2. Mary Jo
    I like especially, "A raven's hoarse scree scratches the air."
    But the entire poem is full of love, heart for the suffering--beautifully represented.

  3. Thank you Marianne and Michael. How good it is of you to respond.

  4. always the same question...is there really complete death?


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