From the colonial gravesites where I walked
mourning and grazing with my dog,
to this father’s day, flag-day starred banners
curling in the cemetery heat;
in the juniper bushes, three cloudy blue
egg-gems huddle in a secret woven nest;
the sudden agreeable sight of comfortable hills
folded into passages winding down to the river.
At the stone entryway I pass “Jesus the Martyr” –
forgive them they can only do what they do;
a chicken hawk grazes our heads to find a better perch;
the road roughening around the bend spills into
another lined by centuries of sky blotting trees,
evergreens with heavy drapery are drinking moist air.
I am reconciling with a martyr’s dripping bloody
compassion and his liminal strength;
we are daughters forgiving ourselves
for not forgiving the fathers.
As rancor inhabits my shoulders so compassion and
mercy stay down in the well hiding their eyes.
I carry the strong grandmothers; break the line where
it needs breaking, teaching the grandmothers to drive.
Natalie Safir is the author of five published books of poetry, the latest being Eyewitness in 6/16 by DosMadres Press. Poems in magazines and ezines such as Rhino, Mid-America Review, Slant, Same, Connecticut River Review, Natural Bridge, Ginosko, and more. Anthologies include Art & Artists, Penguin; A Slant of Light, Codhill Press; My Line, Token. Short fiction in Persimmon Tree, Child of My Child, The Fairy Godmentor’s Advice and an original fairytale “The Woman with Midnight Hair.” She has been editor, lecturer, workshop leader at many local institutions, and directed The Pomegranate Series of readings for nine years.