Touch: The Journal of Healing



Earth Mother, Žemyna

    by Clarissa Jakobsons

         —our goddess, you have given me life,

         you feed me and carry me. After death

         I will rest in you—ancient Lithuanian prayer

It is May, Mother,

the ice on Lake Superior

has melted. For the first time

footprints line words on McClean Street.

You blow hugs and kisses nursing

abandoned phrases about love.

Spiders weave their own canvas

wavering under dim lights. I picked

things from your cellar: Royal Champion

typewriter, Dictaphone, wooden carvings,

sepia photographs in a maroon leather

purse. Ribbons tied to a lost era.

Various European destinations sail

bareback on Hitler postage stamps

to my home. Forgotten paintings

in sea blue, yellow crimson,

and smoky brown. Your hand

scrawled diagnosis; character

disorder, superiority complex,

someone in the family killed another.

No mention of dialysis.

You spit on nurses. Strange

how the present can heal the past

or the past heals itself I’ve been told.

“Speak to the earth and

it will speak to you.” Come back,

visit, you say. I kiss for the past tense

the mirrors that held your tongue.

Letters and notes scooped into bags.

Let’s trade my yellow carnations

for your smile and keep

talking through the night.

There’s a Lithuanian belief

that the dying

should be laid on this earth

to lessen their suffering.

Even now, loved ones scatter

a handful of soil on the dead

so that Žemyna would tread light,

touch us with her loving arms

and heavy breast.

© 2011 Clarissa Jakobsons

A former art professor remarked that Clarissa Jakobsons’ sketchbooks look more like poetry than paintings.  Who would have guessed this observation accurately predicted her current direction?  She has twice been a featured poet at Shakespeare and Co., Associate Editor of the Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal for the past five years, and first place winner of the Akron Art Museum 2005 New Words Competition.

Copyright © 2011

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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