Editor's Note Section

൪uartet - Summer Issue 2022 Volume 2 Issue 3

 

Poetry

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Melody Wilson

 

Every Morning Leda    

                                    

I have no business studying swans. 

I already know what they are—

slow samples of beauty, patience, 

all of our best inclinations 

on a sheet of water 

or icing. Feet the orange 

of traffic cones, they stroke the pond 

with the self-assured dexterity 

of concert pianists. 

 

The first home we owned after 

a series of disasters had stood empty 

for a year. Bobcats peered in, watched 

me unpack. The howling was coyotes, 

not a woman down the road. But I had coffee 

and a window, and a bird so white, so enormous, 

stroked by. I could have counted its feathers 

if I believed it was true. Then gone. 

 

Impossible. Like the swan 

on the cover of my sister’s daughter’s 

Mother Goose. Bespectacled granny, smiling. 

A baby reaching—such an assumption. I was jealous, 

I admit it—stole into the room when they visited.

At twelve, I had nothing left to do but 

switch off the lights once our parents finally 

extinguished themselves, so I swallowed

one of her Flintstones vitamins— 

brightly colored artifact of care. 

Then another. Now I know

 

the bird on the book is just a goose. The old woman 

probably a carnie. Swans make awful noises 

and each of their toes ends in a claw. 

It was a long time before I learned 

young girls are covered in scratches. 

No one tells you.

 

 

“Every Morning Leda” is an interesting poem for me. It started from a prompt about a daily

activity; I chose having coffee. Then I remembered the morning a swan flew by my window in a new home, so I wrote about that. Then associations took over. The book, the vitamins, the allusion to Chanda J. Glass’s wonderful poem “Leda” all appeared unprompted. I love it when this happens, but

it doesn’t always lead to a poem that makes sense to anyone else. This is a major crux in my work at this point.  

 

I’m torn between guiding my poetry or letting it guide me, and by extension, worrying a great deal about who will (or won’t) understand. I hope to reach the point where it doesn’t matter, but I

remain concerned about whether a poem will find its audience. So, I’m consciously working to build my skills and gradually letting go. This poem is among my most natural, anchored in experience and memory with little to no intention. My unfiltered work alarms me a bit, but the alternative is worse. I’m grateful to ൪uartet for seeing something in it—even if I’m not sure what that is.

 

—Melody Wilson

 

൪uartet is an online poetry journal that features the work of women 50 and over.

To view our issues and submission guidelines, please visit www.quartetjournal.com.