by Gail Peck
First the sky, tinged with pink this morning.
Light fractured through the bare trees.
Early and quiet.
Color of my eyes, my mother’s eyes.
I don’t know about my father’s, as he left
when I was young. Black and white photographs of him
in his uniform with Love scrawled across the top.
I did see him a couple of times after the divorce,
but I don’t remember his eyes.
Melancholy: Not wanting to get out of bed—five
more minutes, five, then five again.
My grandmother did nothing much for a year.
My mother tried to stop smoking to punish herself,
I believe, for allowing my grandmother to enter a nursing home.
Color I drape myself in: midnight blue, baby blue,
powder blue, royal blue, sapphire, aquamarine.
It brings out your eyes, they say.
Robins’ eggs. I read they lay one egg a day
stopping at four when the clutch of eggs
feels right beneath them. That the male
will attend better to brighter ones.
Don’t disturb the nest, I was told, or the mother won’t return.
But I reached out my five-year-old hand, and did.
Again, my mother’s eyes, failing.
I can’t clearly see your face, she said.
The Mediterranean where I stood
as fishermen hauled sardines from the sea.
Too salty for me.
This December, blue flame in the fireplace
warming the house we’ve lived in for thirty-three years.
Only days until our anniversary and my birthday.
Comforted by all the paintings with blue
that draw me in and hold me.
Gail Peck is the author of eight books of poetry including The
Braided Light, which won the 2015 Lena Shull Book Contest.
Within Two Rooms was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014.
Peck’s essays and poetry have appeared in The Southern Review,
The Greensboro Review, The Louisville Review, Cimarron
Review, Brevity, Cave Wall, Comstock Review, Nimrod, and
several anthologies. Her essay “Child Waiting,” which was
published in the Spring 2012 issue of the Apple Valley Review,
was selected as a notable essay in The Best American Essays
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 11, Number 1
Copyright © 2016
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors