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Two Poems by Joanne Monte
A Dream of Seeing Your Mother

Her smile defeating grief, kept alive by the spirit.

It is an image that embodies the light she moves through,


eternally sealed in the moment, free of the flesh. 

She brings you into her garden, shows you where to look,


a gap that is not quite visible amid the trumpet flowers

and the angel.  It’s where a spider is binding its web


to a wing, spiraling like an acrobat in midair,

a perfect balancing act in the dark. 


What it does is to simply follow a pattern,

a natural tendency to continue its delicate cycle


from beginning to end, an invisible net to catch

whatever it can as if it can bind the real to the imagined,


the real to the passage of time.  It’s in that space

you see your mother, where every now and then the light


will strike a match to whatever is dark, a tiny flame

in the network of lace between a wing and a petal,


the past and the present, enduring, yet vulnerable—

that single thread to which you are bound to not let go.

Your Mother's Sewing Box

Vintage Florentine,

a painted replica of Madonna

of the Goldfinch on the lid, sealing within

a garden of multi-colored thread, a pin cushion bush,

and buttons strewn all over like seeds. 


You lift the lid and the blue sky

suddenly ascends. What we have seen is a pattern

cut into a triangle, the Madonna, a warm light

on this side of the field, vigilant

of two children; 


one, holding a goldfinch

that will one day pluck a thorn from the bush.

It’s what she left behind that day, a sudden interruption

in a patchwork landscape; her death, a seam ripper

that had cut into the fabric


of what she had yet to sew into a lifetime.

Everything she touched, and saved for future use,

is still kept under the lid: her thimble,

shining like a star into the eye of the needle

she would push and pull


through whatever she needed to mend.

Her measuring tapes, now tangled like honeysuckle

in a world preserved around the many spools

of color, seemingly without end

in what had been left undone.

You were the child, the one

holding the goldfinch; your mother, a warm light

as it had been then on this side of the field; and as it is now,

to be kept for years under the lid that separates

the ordinary from the divine.



Joanne Monte is a poet, novelist and editor. Many of her poems have appeared in literary journals such as Poet Lore, The Raintown Review, The Washington Square Review and Bayou. In addition to being a Pushcart nominee, she has received numerous awards for poetry which include Sixfold, Palette Poetry Award, and the Jack Grapes Poetry award. She is the author of a poetry collection entitled "The Blue Light of Dawn," which received the Bordighera Poetry Book Award.​

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