Eros in Connecticut

If you borrowed eggs from my Babci she’d ask eggs for eating or eggs for cooking?

She picked wild sorrel that grew next to a rusted diesel pump on the neighbor’s farm.

Long strands spritzed by hoses power rinsing pesticide residue

Off double boom spray racks lugged by massive tractors with chunky toothed tires.

She made soup from them that tasted like soft green butter.

It wouldn’t kill you.

Unlike an air conditioner, devil’s machine.

The devil himself could be kept at bay with 32 glowing Jesus faces

Painted on the frosted sides of votive glass.

32-week-old eggs are actually the secret to the best Christmas anise cookies.

She would say a prayer for you, a mass in your name if it was bad.

A child moving farther than a car ride away. Divorce. Cancer.

Or death not coming. I don’t see why the good lord won’t take me

She said for 5 years before he finally saw fit

And we stood in the cemetery while an icy sideways rain spit sharply

On our cheeks and a blustery wind pummeled our hunched shoulders

Until Mrs. Markowski yelled out right over the priest Sophie

For the love of god cut it out because we all believe in Vaseline

Mixed with a little water to moisturize, and a shot of whisky with breakfast

On the really cold days and ghosts

Who can alter weather or fate.

And I’m not sure exactly how or precisely when

But now here I am with my one pair of polished dress shoes.

Each shoe wrapped separately in cheesecloth and tucked in a box

On the top shelf of my closet.

Teabags to be reused later sitting damply on their cracked saucers.

A stack of washed and dried Styrofoam containers in the cupboard.

Feeding the stray cats trout mush with cream, whispering to them in coo coo voices.

Judging anyone who hasn’t realized that ecstasy comes finally

From an always-to-be-determined quotient of pain.

Manual labor and don’t complain pain.

Dog bite and squeeze some Neosporin in there and sew it yourself pain.

Thrashing guts and dash to the toilet every morning and don’t tell anyone pain.

Don’t tell pain.

Your hair is your crowning glory Dianka she’d say

Heartened by the sight of it she’d hold gentle fistfuls up to the sun.

I’ve never cut it.

At night I loosen it from its twists and let it hang out the bedroom window.

When the good lord stops forgetting about me he can climb right up.

I’ll be wearing my polished dress shoes and nothing else.

I’ll tell him I’ve been waiting.  I’ll tell him take me

Click here to read Diana K. Malek on the origin of the poem.

Image by Jorge Lopez on Unsplash, licensed under CC 2.0.

Diana K. Malek:

This poem began as an homage to my paternal grandmother. Ever since she passed, I’ve felt an intense connection to her, a feeling of being watched and guided. Coming from a long line of farmers, we share an intergenerational ethos– a fingers-in-the-dirt quietness, a blinders-on willingness to work to death, and a conviction that the inevitable marriage of love and grief must, in the end, lead to the divine. By the time I’d reached the end of the poem a wholly unconscious process had taken over and the last lines surprised me as they tumbled out. I just sat there looking at them for a while, both wondering what they meant and understanding at the same time. It’s as though my grandmother worked through me, in the mythopoetic space of imagination, to complete the poem. I’m grateful for how this poem taught me, and is still teaching me, about soul-making and listening to ancestors, redemption and forging new life. I love you Babciu!

Diana K. Malek
Latest posts by Diana K. Malek (see all)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.