In 1985, while pursuing a business degree, I unhappily landed in a creative writing class and announced to the group that I thought Walt Whitman was a chain of schools throughout the United States. To my astonishment, I had found my pacing, abandoned prose, and started a poetry circle that has been meeting for 16 years. I have published four poetry collections, most recently: “The Bloomsberries and Other Curiosities” Kelsay Books and “Wonder” Little Lantern Press (out of Wales). https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Laurie+Byro I am the Poet in Residence at the West Milford Township Library and despite it all, love New Jersey, and have lived here almost 60 years.
I had a river once. No one shared what I had.
I had you, mansion of tears. My love was forever
a country boy, dusty, bumping along the road
looking for a gang of Magi to join. He found a star
to follow, he was a tart seeking fame and alas
the skies found their fiery boy. They stole him,
plucked him down and put him under the ground
to grow, to grow not white birch or a prayer tree
the others tried to climb upon. He is all in green,
my love; he will ferry us straight to the North.
And me? I was fashioned out of petals, rain
and garland paths. When you enter my halls of water,
call me daughter. I am a studded and baubled rose,
gathered in fennel and rue. Rosemary
for an uncrowned Lady. Remember me. What I could not
say, they took that from me too: I speak to the fish.
In my kingdom of carp, all my Princes know
who they are. Make no mistake, there is no hidden treasure
in frogs. They stray away from me, always my lot,
they nibble and taste but they don’t stay long.
The moonlight drapes their green throats in luster
like ermine. All these dazzled spirits flutter and descend
on my lips: ruby-winged darter, gold ringed nymph.
And you, who said I never had a treasure worth keeping?
How can I live without a name: a father or a brother?
I beg you, call me daughter. The turtles lay down
their robes before me. We have no need
for jewels, no Queen to steal my pearls.
© 2017 Laurie Byro
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