A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

Ghazal: Palms

by Amy Watkins

My mother never measures, just pours, even baking
soda, like an offering into her upturned palm.

After the hurricanes, the biggest trees were broken.
Of the great oaks none survived, only the wiry palms.

He knelt on the cobbles, head down, hand up, a posture
of prayer, and I placed a coin at the center of his palm.

My mother hated Florida for yearsthe sand, the heat,
the insectseven the mockingbird, even the palm.

Why in ecstasy of song, in prayer, in wordless wail,
do women raise one palm to breast, to heaven one palm?

After the party we came to each other, still drunk,
swaying slightly together like two leaning palms.

His hand brushed my body, curves of hip and belly,
his callused fingers, the rough places on his palm.

For five days she drifted, fearful, resigned, clinging by
chance to something life-sustaining: a fruit-bearing palm.

I want to cook like my mother, careless but full of love,
freeing with my middle fingers crystals that cling to my palm.

[Originally appeared in The Griffin]

Amy Watkins lives in Orlando with her husband and daughter. Her poems have recently appeared in The Glass Coin and on the website of Poets for Living Waters, a poetic response to the Gulf oil disaster. She is co-editor and host of the free weekly poetry podcast, Red Lion Square.


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