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Lorna Knowles Blake

Lorna Knowles Blake

Lorna Knowles Blake' s first collection of poems, Permanent Address, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize from the Ashland Poetry Press and was published in May 2008. She teaches at the Brewster Ladies Library and serves on the editorial board of Barrow Street as well as on the Advisory Board of the West Chester Poetry Center. She lives in Cape Cod and New Orleans.

Anniversary Gifts

The first year calls for Paper: a clean white sail.
Year two arrives with Cotton, sheets of percale
for the marriage bed.  Next, she bought Leather
slippers; he planted yellow Flowers. Wood
came and went, then Copper. Candy. Wool.  
With Pottery came the children, and days full
of wear, of wonder—life was simple, rooted, good.
Later the Tin warped and the Steel grew rusty
but they patched the walls with wads of paper,
cotton, wool, and shards of broken pottery...

Now friends, betrayed, bored, sick, or terrified,
seek new loves, leaving Silk and Lace in tatters,
and start all over, giving up on Ivory, Crystal, Silver,
while they steer on toward Coral (remember,
the counselor said, you are on the same side).
The married lake is draining all around them.
Who will be next? Each wonders, as they climb
daily into their leaky dinghy and, no matter
the day's fresh betrayal, blessing or sorrow,
row toward another year, tomorrow by tomorrow.


Dawn: a vixen at the verge
of lawn—she's red-blur,

dream-thought; now vanished
to an earth-nest in the woods

behind the shed, apparitional
again at dusk. Fooler of Crows.

Night: scream of cottontails,
her sharp, cough-like barks.

Now come the blonde kits
to spoil our vines. They strip

berry canes, leave droppings
in neat, purple piles and roll

on new sod carpets. Sunlight,
grass, the dogs indoors, asleep.

No dangling grapes to sour
the day: nothing out of reach.


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