This poem was chosen for a Musical Response by Featured Musician and Professional Flute Player, Michael Morton.
In the Apple Orchard's Quiet August
Above the fences, a horse nickered. His earthy flanks
italicized the air as he turned his head
to fill his eye with what I did or didn’t have for him.
He let me touch his face and coo at him
longer than my dog allows when all she wants is food.
I haven’t reached the point where I’m begging
for what I failed to recognize I once had:
my mother’s fingers in my hair
tightly pulling a braid from the curls,
how my scalp ached like feet in too small shoes by the end of the day,
how the only fence curbing our house was my boyish tendencies
and those sudden breasts that hot air ballooned me away
from what I still haven’t grasped.
How did others slide so naturally into it?
Girlhood eluded me until I grew out of it.
Now I reach back like a donkey trying to nip at a fly on her ass.
How can I still not articulate what it actually was?
My hands were muddy, yes, I built towers with collected sticks,
but then someone told me to wash up, and damn it all, I did.
Emily Light’s poetry can be found in such journals as Inch, Lake Effect, Projected Letters, Into the Void, and others. She teaches English and lives in Boonton with her husband and son.
Statement from Featured Artist, Shelley Thomas: Poem moves like a curtain fluttering in an open window. Images waft and drift unencumbered. Memories are retrieved: tightness of braids, mud-caked boots, dirt lodged under fingernails. The signposts of childhood now phantoms of a childhood lost. I am reminded of the freedom of childhood. The uninhibited self. An unchecked delight in ordinary things like old collections of stones or marbles. Or simple joy found in a plate of scrubbed sea glass as it warms in the light. Knowing the value of small and simple treasures and pleasures.
Art: “Gem Box,” 2017 (Seaham, England)
Statement by Featured Musician, Michael Morton: It is not at all verbatim. It IS by phrase. I wanted to capture the tone more.