Green Hills Literary Lantern

Don't Explain





She used red jello in the hospital dish

to look through.  Sugar and

horses’ hooves, dissolved to stiff

clear then doused with chemical

red, provided a lens to illuminate

the meaning of the empty window

by her aging bed.  She could hold

up squares between two fingers,

parts of her still worked.


Her lack of understanding about

human nature was generous.

Confusion over the mess created

a red gleam, kernelled in her brain.

At times, it germinated (especially

when night and sleep in the hospital

room wasn’t allowed to be night

and sleep) and saturated her body

with hot red weather.


This was the end (patience her long

last lesson).  She did wish for

blue revelation but revelation

never constellated for her,

revolving as she did between

drinking glasses on the table

and the crest of the slope where

poppies (their intoxicating gold

brushes) exploded any conviction

her mind might settle on.


Grace Marie Grafton's poetry received first prize in the annual Bellingham Review contest, was a finalist for Nimrod's Pablo Neruda Prize, and was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her chapbook, ZERO, won the Poetic Matrix Press contest.  Her book, Visiting Sisters was published by Coracle Books.  She has taught for many years in the CA Poets In The Schools program.  Poems recently appear in The Modern Poetry Review, Ur*vox, good foot, and Tar Wolf Review.