Two Poems by Catherine Zickgraf

cath 2
Blessings in the clouds sound horns of plenty.
Her boys roll around in frenetic joy.
They are pinecones still maturing on the boughs,
on her song in the sweetness of wind-borne bells.
Her words will remain when her voice flies away.
She weaves yarn through her backyard long pines
so her children can wander their own unknown.
She watches from the porch with gratitude
they’re still young enough they still return home.
The bridge outside connects the creek sides,
brides swim their dresses out to sea—she teaches
her sons to see with their minds, not eyes.
Rivers scoop lakes at their estuaries.
A marble she holds encases the oceans.
Tending futures inside, she polishes the sky’s eye,
guards her kids tugging rope up the creek side
and swinging into the long line of horizon.
She holds a placemat I wove from construction paper
to lay under her Willow Blue Wedgewood plates on
holidays. I slept over often, I was her bed warmer,
slid eyes open at times when she stroked my hair in
the strawberry dawn. Her girl, says my emerald ring.
Waking wide into a houseful of comfort, dark coffee
percolating, strawberry jelly and toast, I helped turn
dough into linen-lined bowls of dinner rolls. We
greeted parents, uncles and aunts at the door—sons
of her heart, in-law daughters of her dreams. She’s
prayed hope and home into each new household
since before her boys were born. We still lament his
absence, the guest list forever incomplete. Yet she’s
been strong enough to attend to our needs, tending
generations of seeds, taking the head of the table.
Fed full and warm, we laughed, I swam carpet and
grass with cousins. My, how those evenings passed
without watch-references, phone-glances, grudges,
etc. Adults rested elbows, leaned in, flushed with
Riesling—trunks feeding canopies their leaves. For
from the recliner now, she nurtures with stories of
perseverance and stability to bless even as-yet unsent
souls whom during her own time she will never meet.
Catherine Zickgraf grew up in Boothwyn, PA and lives in Augusta, GA. Two lifetimes ago, she performed her poetry in Madrid. Now her main jobs are to write and hang out with her family. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press, and The Grief Diaries. Her chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press. Find her on twitter @czickgraf. Watch and read more at

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