Mother Russia, by Kelly Scarff
She will, / on her best days, / give you her last morsel; / on her worst, she’ll give you her last / morsel. –Cinquain: A Mother
In “Where the Missionaries Start,” Kelly Scarff writes, There are seven of us, / like the days of the week. And we all hate / certain parts of one another. This willingness to tell us a story on its own searing, unembellished terms illuminates Scarff’s new collection like a search beam.
In “Watching Yulia Dance,” Scarff crystallizes the missionary’s impossible desire to mother the orphaned child: If I could reach you, / I’d give you a home, / your own bedroom, a bus stop. / But we both know it’d be easier / to give you the moon.
It is a story that somehow holds the tension of life’s beauty, right up against inescapable losses.
ODE TO THE POMEGRANATE I will never be as prolific as you, Pomegranate. My children will never cling to my womb, bury themselves into their own shapes as bees do. They will not have translucent skin pulled taut around a tear so perfect you can see the soul.