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Mary Leonard


In winter   mustard weeds grow  high  
easy to drop under the leaves   cut gold
tops   drink in the pungent smell of sweat   
  strip a stalk  suck out the juice  No one says  
Do not      Do remember    Do not forget
                     who you are

Some days I forget   shake off my tunic 
hit all the high notes I sang  when 
 he was born    hair so soft  like silk
circling a king's head  who knew
               he'd be a leader of men

Leaves rustle   I fling my scarf 
over my head  pull up my tunic 
see a woman with dark braids wrapped
high like a crown   robe tied with  rope
         She does not speak

Hands me  unleavened bread  mustard 
seeds  hidden in the grooves   I bleat
like a sheep eating grass   She smiles
why not tell her   what? she  sees,
           knows,   sees me? 

She points to her village  I shake  my head 
no  return to my safe spot under plants   
let the sun burn my skin  She returns
with  trays of rice and greens the scent,
              turmeric cumin garlic 

I cry out  Mujadarah Her eyes   
light up like spring irises in the hills,     
blue, calm like the Sea of Galilee      
black blue, like the pottery I've glazed    
your eyes 
               she laughs    bends
                                             in half  


I fall to the earth singing  a hymn  
she hums  we sway to the right  the left
dance like one, like mustard leaves
              in the breeze
She opens her apron   powders from 
crushed rocks spill out  blue red gold  
her finger dips blue dots  around
my eyes   hers  the sky opens  up  
                  A blue  mirror 
I feel so light   I leap over  steep rocks 
               my long white hair flies

which                                        way

The Devil is a Man

 I  believed my country

          'tis of me and thee


In October I  turned a corner

            found myself

with Parisians

            in the streets  chanting

Resistance  Resist


I held  the   CGT

             placard high

and joined the march


One woman  asked why?

           I said one name  

wanted to start a list &&&

she said--I understand

she held my hand  


we chanted liberté, égalité, fraternité

            all the way up

the Blvd. Beaumarchais

all the way to the Bastille.

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