Blue by Linda Nemec Foster

Blue

 

It must have been her accent
that seduced and baffled my ears.
The Egyptian woman, still lost
in the desert air of Cairo,
read her poems filled with water
from the Nile and blue heaven,
blue heaven, blue heaven flying
over the lotus flowers. I heard
“heaven” but later discovered
she said “heron.” A distant cousin
to the sacred ibis, herons (even blue ones)
are commonplace–are everywhere–even
in the non-exotic marshes of northern Ohio
where another blue creation–my mother–
landed. Blue Helen, blue Helen, blue Helen.
The kids in Cleveland would tease her.
Her blue eyes swimming in the immigrant’s
version of hide and seek, lost and found,
a lexicon of strange words that trip her tongue:

thunder
                                       train track
        wind storm
                                               paradise

A paradise where she flies, dusts clouds,
and polishes haloes. Washing the blue
of heaven until it shines like a word
that has yet to be invented.


Linda Nemec Foster
Linda Nemec Foster is the author of nine collections of poetry including Amber Necklace from Gdansk (LSU Press) and Talking Diamonds (New Issues Press). Her work has been published in numerous magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, Nimrod, Quarterly West, Witness, New American Writing, and North American Review. She has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and has been honored by the Arts Foundation of Michigan, ArtServe Michigan, the National Writer’s Voice, and the Academy of American Poets. From 2003-05, she was selected to serve as the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Foster is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College.

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