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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Celebrating a Bookaversary! Poems from Wandering Bone, by Olive L. Sullivan

Wandering Bone, Poems by Olive L. Sullivan
Meadowlark Books - December 2017
Purchase at the Meadowlark bookstore, or wherever you buy books!

Family Bed

Polished mahogany,
newlywed bedstead
gleaming in the back of a beat-up buckboard
all the way from St. Louis
to the Oklahoma prairie.
Not much: headboard,
footboard carved like the coach of a sleigh.
Homestead bedstead.
Thick red Russian quilts don’t show
the stains of childbed —
nor deathbed stains, neither.

Now the bed’s in Denver
covered with neon coral-colored sheets
and on Sundays a tangle of
bony legs and knobby little knees —
And over this sweet jumble of our limbs is
Grandma Larson’s memory quilt,
her daddy’s beard pulled snug
against my Frankie’s baby chin,
and the Christmas tree
from nineteen ought-six across
our ticklish toes.

Two cats quilt us all together,
fabric, flesh, sinew, bone and bed,
bedstead stitched fast with
their quick-pointing quilting feet,
their tabby tails tucked in around our shoulders.
Homestead, bedstead, bedrock, cats and all —
family bed.

©Olive L. Sullivan, 2017 – Wandering Bone


If I were a planet,
continents would be shifting.

Mountain ranges would rise and flux
and sink again, and
lava would flow hot
and thick. I’m volcanic.
I’m tectonic plates shifting
into new forms. Let me tell you,
being molten is hard work.
But now that the old mold’s broken,
I can’t wait to see
which way the rivers run
when the landslip ends.

©Olive L. Sullivan, 2017 – Wandering Bone

The Seventh Year

That’s how it started —
driving across Kansas on a wave of the blues,
poems working their way to the surface
bearing messages of stone and fern,
soul and bone and dirt.
The seventh year is the one when
everything changes — you’ve seen it coming
like a tornado on the horizon.
The sky turns black and yellow and green,
you run for the storm cellar
and play gin rummy on a rickety card table
next to the canned goods,
then sleep piled on the floor like puppies.
When birds carol the new day,
the sky like a basket of clean cotton towels,
nothing has changed but
everything is new.

©Olive L. Sullivan, 2017 – Wandering Bone

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