The Clarity of Troubled Love
by N. A’Yara Stein
One night on the crunchy sand of Biloxi
my mother lay with my father and i
became I. The stars, she said, whispered;
her husband was a distant silken conspirator.
Afterwards, they returned to their sparring
and to the delta with its raped cotton plants
in reddened soil. They toiled, oiled the machines
almost ferverishly as the doomed do.
Don’t you? Haven’t you? Never? I have
want of luxury but not fury.
Easy promises slipped bee-like from tongues
and children’s ears grew numb with fear
of the way things fall apart and people disappear.
N. A’Yara Stein is a Romani-American poet and writer living on a chicory farm and has been nominated twice for the 2010 Pushcart Prize. Born in Memphis, she holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and has been published in The New Orleans Review, The Birmingham Poetry Review, The Oxford American, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Crossroads: a Journal of Southern Culture, Great Midwestern Quarterly, and Poetry Motel. She currently lives near Chicago with her sons and is looking for a book publisher.