A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Patricia Fargnoli

is the current New Hampshire poet laureate. Her latest book is Duties of the Spirit (Tupelo Press, 2005) and her book Cold River Season is forthcoming (also from Tupelo Press) in 2009.

Most recently her poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Margie, Cimarron Review, Mid-American Review, among others.

In addition to being a Macdowell Fellow, she’s received several awards: The May Swenson Book Award, The NH Jane Kenyon Literary Award, and The Frost Foundation Award.

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“There is a radiance in each of us—could we but see it.” (from the poster “Woman Rising” by Chris Morningforest)

Yes, and it begins in my aged left toe, in the bruised
nail of my left toe, the wiggle of the toe and the twitch
in the right muscle of my arthritic right foot. And it glows
in the sheen along the scar on my calf and rises
over the cliff-edge of my fleshy thigh.

Yes oh yes, it sizzles in the cleft of my long dormant
sex, it glitters and spews there, before it rounds
into warm on my belly like a peach ripening
to the point of absolute plushness. And it dazzles
like brook light splaying around the curves and circles

of my falling breasts and keeps on rising:
light points on my throat, a certain scintillation
along lined cheeks, sparks jumping in the brown
softwood of eyes, lightning branching
through fine strands of once red hair.

And it goes inside until I am all fire and glowing,
a coal, an ember—until life itself,
resilient and ever beautiful sparks again
(God knows why on this frozen winter night of
a gray moon and snow on the way),

as if it were not impossible after all these numb
black years of mourning: mother, father, husband, all
the others—all my dead—all the tearing, killing losses.
As if it were not a miracle: for no good reason—
this radiance flooding in.


Originally published in Poetpourri