you are in the diode archives fall 2009



First Tapping of Soft Tears

sliding down glass in slow abandon, rapid

percussion, sudden run of planetary sobs,
flung against the skylight. Furious rain

spitting the sky’s frustration, surging
out of thunderheads, liquefies night.

Wind vibrates into loam and clay, startling
root hairs of coleus and saw grass,

shaking the nuthatch inside her gourd.
Babies quaking with the thud of each drop,

she covers them with drenched wings.
At daybreak she will fly out and back

a hundred times, filling their gaping beaks
which are her own.


From the Apple Tree

If on the day our father died,
he remembered the apple tree
like I remember the roar of its blossoms,
after every rain, when they were wet
with light, if before dying our father watched
honeybees tasting nectar, and broke
with his thick farmer’s hands,
a bouquet of twigs and blooms that wept
as he carried them to the house and
placed them in our mother’s grasp, if he felt
her fingers, chapped with work and cold,
close over his as their eyes met,
if he turned away to resume his chores, as
fragrance filled the whole house, and
the sky over the farm turned smoky-blue,
if at the edge of the waiting woods, where
the willows had woven themselves together,
he parted the branches and stepped inside,
does he listen now from his infinite space
for wind to stir in the apple tree,
for fruit to fall in a hush of leaves?
Does he long for us as we long for an hour?
Can he see us through his long gaze,
living our lives chattering through the fog,
etching our tracks year after year
upon the world?  


Roselyn Elliott is the author of two poetry chapbooks: The Separation of Kin (Blueline—SUNY Potsdam 2006 ) and At the Center (Finishing Line Press 2008), a nominee for the Library of Virginia poetry award. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Cream City Review, The Florida Review, New Letters, Harpur Palate, The Comstock Review, Southern Anthology, Adirondack Life Magazine, and other publications. She has taught writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, and the Visual Art Center of Richmond. A former Pushcart nominee, she lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she works as a freelance writer and private tutor.