Green Hills Literary Lantern











The initiation of color, that’s

what I requested when he asked me, “What

would be your best medicine?”  First, in dawn’s

message, the scarcely-green among pigeon-

feather grey.  Sweet flight.  Memory of float,

memory of whisper.  Blue’s ease slips in,

perfect as courtesy.  Blue napkins,

simple gleam of silverware, yellow

in the breakfast window.  I explain to him,

my grandmother’s kitchen faced east, quiet

always her gift.  Red comes after food, zest’s

glow in skin, dragonfly’s wings, the purple

background.  Flowers set on the bedside stand,

scarlet petals reflect on my palm.






If I should leave for you a purple fish

in a small blue bowl, a fish that carries

in it the world’s inexplicable worth –

no more than the flick of copper

it takes to make a penny, but greater

than the solar system gathered together –

would you understand, with me, that death

is the bargain we accept, in order

to be born?  And that the bearing is all?  Filled

with opposing bits.  Within my father’s

dying body – brilliant orange lips

revealing the toxins that were killing

him – breathed the boy who slept under summer

netting his mother spread below stars.


Grace Marie Grafton’s new book of prose poems, Other Clues, 2010, was published by Latitude Press (  Her new chapbook, Chrysanthemum Oratorio, is now available from Dancing Girl Press.  Her poetry has won first prize in the Soul Making contest (PEN women, San Francisco), in the annual Bellingham Review contest, and was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Poems recently appear in Volt, Edgz, Prism Review, Ambush Review,, and