Dying in Childbirth
for little Icy Jackson Patton and her twin sons
My dear Icy, I think of you and I wonder
What hopes must have rested
On the palms of your hands as you rested them
atop your large round belly filled with twin boys
but you did not know you carried sons in your future then
those baby boys so valuable in your day
Perhaps you hoped for daughters
or just a daughter
To dress in white lace
Or maybe the pressure was on for those boys
You look so happy those first few months
before they peek their precious heads
or better said
before they could not peek
and the pressure became too great for all three
and so all slept instead
What My Mother Taught Me
for Beth and the girls
The teacher takes the time to teach
It is much easier to do the job one’s self
The teacher values the pupil
the precious one willing to learn
from the mentor, the mother, the great sensei,
How to roll the dough
Just right to make the perfect
The teacher is patient with small clumsy hands
hands that hurry and clump the wheat and butter
The teacher soothes with her soft voice and knows
Just the right mix of words to get the whole process going
The pupil laughs
The teacher laughs
The biscuits rise
Where Does Hope Rest?
What hope does rest on the fragile back of my young son?
His shoulders not yet strong
Enough to bear the weight of all the glorious goals
I have set before him
His tender eyes still see the awe and wonder of butterflies
as the most magical of beings
creatures with fairy wings that just might come and wisp
him away to Neverland
if he whispers the right blessing in their ears
His globe eyes still full of the wonder of being
I see those eyes
I was once behind such eyes myself
But now my eyes are heavy with hope
Should hope be heavy?
Or is it enough to just be?
Photo by Leah Maines and Gene NightThunder.
Leah Maines has edited over 800 poetry, fiction, and play collections, including several award-winning titles. She is the publisher of Finishing Line Press. She is former Poet-in-Residence of Northern Kentucky University (funded in part by the Kentucky Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities).
Leah Maines is the author of two poetry books.
Her first book was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Williams Carlos Williams Book Award (Poetry Society of America). Looking to the East with Western Eyes, New Women’s Voices Series, No. 1 (Finishing Line Press, 1998) reached #10 in the « Cincinnati/Tri-State Best Sellers List » (Cincinnati Enquirer), and is now in its fourth printing. Her most recent collection, Beyond the River, (KWC Press, 2002, 1st edition) won the Kentucky Writers’ Coalition Poetry Chapbook Competition in 2002. Her poems have appeared in numerous national and international publications including Nebo, Owen Wister Review, Licking River Review, Flyway and other literary magazines and anthologies.
Leah Maines lived in Gifu, Japan where she studied and researched classical Japanese poetry at Gifu University. She also studied at Kings College London, England, and The Marino Institute in Dublin, Ireland. She holds degrees from Cincinnati Christian University and Northern Kentucky University. Leah lives with her husband and children in Central Kentucky.
Publications and Prizes
Beyond the River (Kentucky Writers Coalition Press, 2002), Looking to the East with Western Eyes (Finishing Line Press, 1998)
Flyway, Licking River Review, Nebo, Owen Wister Review
Beyond the River, Winner of the Kentucky Writers’ Coalition Chapbook Competition.
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