Two Poems by Laurie Byro


I follow him to Cyprus,
to grow us a garden of poppies—
scarlet, like spilled blood.

At first, he treats me badly,
shoos me away like a chicken.
I ignore his protests, bring him
plates of sweet carp, my nails dirty
and broken from digging black soil.

Finally, after two years of silence,
those side looks when he walks
into town, death a robe he can’t
completely shake—we speak.
I show him the garden fully bloomed,
blood scattered everywhere.

Dragonflies mate, jewel upon jewel,
sapphires and emeralds, tourmaline wings.
They hover above the feast of flowers.

We mourn Mary’s boy, each
in our own way. Aphrodite’s Island
brings out our best. Night after night,
I pour wine and break bread, serve
a man busy becoming a saint.

The table we eat from wobbles with
its crooked leg,
how we want our carpenter back
to steady it, like he steadies us.

His lessons make the stars shiver,
the trees long for transformation
into something better.

Cain's Wife Writes from Nod

It was at that moment I stopped listening
to the gurgling river of blood that lay beneath
my feet and settled on the one who was left.
No one speaks about how unruly Eden had become.
The tangled pile of serpents dozing logy in the sun,

the sated pairs of insects making more insects.
You may think of this as paradise: ecotourism,
a cottage industry, his and hers woven placemats,
but the drone and whirr of birds, of bees,
grasshoppers, tree frogs My God—hummingbirds.

Eden was one big cacophony of rose of Sharon. We left
since Nod has better schools for the children. My son is ten
now and I’m expecting again, hoping for a brother
for little Nochie.  Although, I wouldn’t ask him
to watch the dog.  He’s just like his father, likes to putter

in the garden, at five years old he could tell the difference
between a weed and a bean sprout.  He doesn’t have many
friends though except that weird kid Kyle who is into that
animal sacrificing that’s so popular now.  I don’t mind
kicking in the occasional goat. Boys will be boys. I only wish

he’d stop writing to his Uncle Seth asking if he can move
in after the baby is born.  How will it look to the neighbors
if Enoch doesn’t stick around long enough to watch the baby?
I want him to be best friends with little Sarah or little Seth.
The same way my dearest was with his brothers.

About the author

Laurie Byro's short stories and poetry draw on myth, fairytale and her experiences of foreign places in the years she worked as a travel…

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Issue 03 · February 2009

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