At Last the Light in the Trees Wavers
The young man who flies from New York to Salt Lake to fill in
for a famous pianist (stomach flu) is also a famous pianist. We
are second row at the symphony, and the pianist is skinny,
early 20s, and he plays a song like lanterns crashing.
Something modern. But first he plays Beethoven. We watch
him sway on the piano bench, eyes closed, anchored by his
torso and pointed leather shoes, and I wonder about his
mother. How many hours of practice did she hear? The
Emperor Suite over a screaming pot of tea. Endless staircases
of Chopin while she plucked his clean underwear from the
basket, folded the waistband in half, tucked under the crotch.
And for all the art about Paris or the sea, why not more about
laundry? About children, teaching them to pee like grown-ups:
elbows on their knees, legs swinging while they wait, wait,
wait, afterward the curved pink mark on their bottoms, a
funny frown. Sweet Mary Cassatt, what do I owe you? What
can I give you, who are both hands and mirror? In The Bath the
beautifully plain mother washes the feet of her daughter. They
gaze downward like suburban saints. Quiet, ceremonial. The
heart is harnessed in a thimble and every day it’s the morning
of creation. My son on an evening walk at four years old says
the moon looks like a floating egg mama I love living on earth.
This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.
My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.
Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review. Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird. She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center. She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations. She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.
Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016.
Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.
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