W6748 450th Ave.
Ellsworth, WI. 54011
Elise Claire Gregory lives in western Wisconsin where she tends gardens, sheep, goats, chickens, three human children, and one spouse. Her poems have appeared in print and online at Redactions, Sweet, Cider Press Review, Hubbub, and are forthcoming from Stoneboat and Rock and Sling. Her chapbook, "Domestic Spiral," was published in 2011. Currently she’s compiling a collection with five other poet/editors called All We Can Hold: A Collection of Poetry on Motherhood, which will be published April 2016 by Sage Hill Press. Please check out the accompanying online poetry at www.allwecanhold.com
I give up my fingers first,
stone pillars at night.
I give you my throat.
I give you my tongue which paddles
I give up my lungs like swollen peonies
who open for the gardener.
I give you my untrustworthy thighs.
I give up my knees
like two silver bolts.
I give you my womb—a gold sliced pear.
I give you my footsteps which crow
of my existence.
And in the giving up of me I become
more than a narrow step in your head.
First published by Redactions and nominated for a Pushcart
Inspired by Beckian Fritz Goldberg
That fall I saw the shut doors
of the building where I was born—
people slumped over their cigarettes.
The hospital leered at me like a Denny’s sign.
I was struck by the used look of it. We stopped
near its front as my mother spoke
of rain, a relief from August that morning.
She spoke of the same street of which I have no memory
this barren November. An icicle shattered across a stone walk.
I said my first colors were our green dragon chair
and a bronze bowl of cherries, not father
painting our house yellow, not my sisters.
Not spotted summer sight.
She said I fell out, full-fat-fingers kicking.
I said it was the blue jay beneath tomato plants.
She did not say the clouds were curved
and close as the mouths of the redeemed…
And I did not say the sky rolled—an empty Ferris wheel.
Hospital shades fell in turns.
There are times in our past only others hold.
I said my first kiss was Durwoods Glen,
the wandering thistles and field mice—
lost and frantic.
She said I came out with joy.