Issue 50 — 

Mary Ann Larkin


Mary Ann Larkin



Featured on ArLiJo


This Is a Song

†††††††This is a song of grief
for the red wet boy
who didnít come screaming
out of my womb to light,
for the red-haired daughter
who doesnít sulk dreaming
by the plums above the sea.

†††††††This is a song of grief
for my belly that never swelled
taut as a blue-veined drum,
for the wild ripe man
with his poems of air
who came too late
with his quick thick seed.ó

from That Deep & Steady Hum by Mary Ann Larkin (2010, Broadkill River Press). Reprinted by permission. Copyright © 2010 by Mary Ann Larkin.


Immigrant Daughter's Song

Gone, the silver-green silk of time
winding down centuries
of custom and kinship,
the pouring of the sea, the stars
on the slate of night, the moon
stamping the spire of the church
on the sand. Time itself changed
to a ticking, a dot on a line.
Customs of grace
and gentleness gone
name-saying and knowing
who begat whom
and when and where
and who could work
and who could sing
and who would pray
and who would not
and where the fish ran
and the wild plums hid
and how the old mothers
fit babiesí hands
to the five-flowered hollows
of blue ladyfingers,
and whose father fought whose
with golden swords
a thousand years ago
at Ballyferriter
on the strand below the church.
Gone from a silken spool unwinding
to rooms of relics and loss
behind whose locked doors
I dream, not daring to wake.

from That Deep & Steady Hum by Mary Ann Larkin (2010, Broadkill River Press). Reprinted by permission. Copyright © 2010 by Mary Ann Larkin.


Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo

In a silence strong as water,
Las Madres de Plaza hold aloft
photos of their children
for all to see, the way
mothers do at parties.
What could be more natural?
Juan Pablo Ramirez, age 22,
missing 6-11-77;
Ada Estabar, age 17,
missing 2-10-79.
Pedro, Estela, Salvador.

These mothers have coupled with death
and nothing prevails against them,
not the years, the evil
of their own kind, nor the memories,
waiting always to dissolve them,
of those tender unshriven bodies.
Birthing a huge implacable animal,
Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo
circle the square.

from That Deep & Steady Hum by Mary Ann Larkin (2010, Broadkill River Press). Reprinted by permission. Copyright © 2010 by Mary Ann Larkin.

Biography:
Mary Ann Larkin is the author of five chapbooks of poetry: The Coil of the Skin, White Clapboard, The DNA of the Heart, A Shimmering That Goes With Us, and gods & flesh. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, New Letters, and Poetry Greece, among many others, including several anthologies (American in Poetry / Ireland in Poetry). In the 1970s, she co-founded Big Mama Poetry Troupe in Cleveland, Ohio, which went on to perform in Chicago to New York. With her husband, Patric Pepper, she co-founded Pond Road Press. She lives in Washington, DC and North Truro, Massachusetts.