Poetry / Autumn McClintock
:: Abiding Characteristics ::
erased from Valerie’s journal: April 21, 1982 With each season you stand the elusive reason for why people “pass on.” you learn to pick tulips long-stemmed instead of right from the blossom. Listening a glimpse you handle relationships Know how special you are. You’re just not you’re not you’re not you’re not so beautiful the seasons You unlearn and accept understand something spoken of and obvious you say, “get it, mom?” if you could get around to the other side it would be easier you love to run.
:: Isaiah 40: Erased from Headstone ::
says your God her hard service has been completed, she has received from the LORD’S hand the wilderness the desert a highway rough and revealed. And I said, What shall I cry? All people are grass, and all breath blows the grass. a high mountain lift up with a shout, lift up the hollow breadth of the heavens Who has held the earth in a basket? Whom did the LORD consult and who was the dust the fine dust Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you since the earth was the earth, its grass stretches like a canopy, and reduces this world to the ground the name is missing. Why do you complain? Why do you say LORD my God LORD God, no LORD no no.
From the writer
:: Account ::
These erasures are, respectively, from a journal my mother wrote to/for me after I was born and from chapter 40 of Isaiah, from the New International Version of the Bible. This year, I am the age my mother was when she died: 41. This project allows our conversation to go on. These works are also part of a longer manuscript that examines relationships between/among women, illness, grief, entering middle age, and what it means to outlive one’s parent in years and age. My hope is that the poems make possible other conversations out in the world, between you and your dead or maybe even you and your living. Works of erasure that have been invaluable as I approached this project are The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground by Collier Nogues, Radi os by Ronald Johnson, and Voyager by Srikanth Reddy.
Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia and works at the public library. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published in 2016. Poems of hers have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Daily, Green Mountains Review, Denver Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Drunken Boat, Spoon River Poetry Review, and others. She is a staff reader for Ploughshares.