Happy Fourth of July! An Independence Day-Related New Favorite Poet: Barbara Crooker

My latest new favorite poet is Barbara Crooker (from American Life in Poetry: Column 484).

Those of us that can identify writing our names and other words or shapes in the air with sparklers (as children OR adults 😉 ) should feel a certain nostalgia when reading the below piece. The real thing about the poem though, is the almost filigreed fineness of the words themselves.

Sparklers

We’re writing our names with sizzles of light
to celebrate the fourth. I use the loops of cursive,
make a big B like the sloping hills on the west side
of the lake. The rest, little a, r, one small b,
spit and fizz as they scratch the night. On the side
of the shack where we bought them, a handmade sign:
Trailer Full of Sparkles Ahead, and I imagine crazy
chrysanthemums, wheels of fire, glitter bouncing
off metal walls. Here, we keep tracing in tiny
pyrotechnics the letters we were given at birth,
branding them on the air. And though my mother’s
name has been erased now, I write it, too:
a big swooping I, a hissing s, an a that sighs
like her last breath, and then I ring
belle, belle, belle in the sulphuric smoky dark.

My favorite lines:

“And though my mother’s
name has been erased now, I write it, too:
a big swooping I, a hissing s, an a that sighs
like her last breath…”

In them, she lets the reader know, in a certain, special way, that the sparklers help her feel her mother again.

The full article can be found by clicking here.

Enjoy! 😀

Jamy

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