Poetry - Issue 06 | August 2009

Two poems by Ingrid Steblea

The Location of Home

Congaree Swamp, South Carolina

We came here from New England’s trim green lawns
and wide flat maple leaves. There, even the flowers are decorous,
animals and birds painted with a planned palette as if selected
specifically for postcards: Cardinal Against Snowy Evergreen Branch.

You point to the skinks skittering along the boardwalk railing,
dull dun lizards with a shock of electric blue tail darting
up the waxen trunks of the magnolia tree. I read to you
from the mimeographed field guide: cypress knees and tupelo drupes.
Like any foreign language the sounds delight. Loblollies. 
Green haw. Sweetgum. Sedge.

We have waded past a country mile of Pentecostal clapboard churches.
We know where we came from, but not where we are going. 
The tupelo trees spread over of the black water, the wild grape
snakes up the paw-paw tree, heavy with scuppernongs.
Perhaps we will move to a city. A township, a suburb. 
What jobs? What friends? 

The barred owl whooos in the canopy, the woodpecker
clatters at the beech tree. Tulip poplars bassoon
their triumphant fruit, blazing orange, emerald. I rest
my hand upon your shoulder. 

Below, snapping turtles snatch
hunks of bread, thrown down by a row
of children, laughing, at the bridge’s end.

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About the author

Long before Ingrid Steblea settled in the beautiful Happy Valley area of western Massachusetts, she and her husband and son traveled across the continental US by car. Ingrid’s poetry has appeared in Poem, Rattle, The Seattle Review, The Southern Anthology, and other journals, and she was the featured poet in the December 2008 edition of ouroboros review.  She leads an online writers group and is currently working on a novel.

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