Pamela Sinicrope | 3 poems

The Winter Gardener

For Jean Fox

In Minnesota, when snowfalls layer
like sedimentary rock and happiness falls
below zero, I dream of peonies rising. 
I see clusters of large red balls—like clown noses, 
and I can’t help but smile

as they bounce and sway toward the sun.

They snore below the cold as crimson eyes root 
upward from a perennial world that slurps 
through dirt to drink. I wonder about the ants—
how do they get inside the bud? 

What came first—the bloom or the ant?
Instead of a snowball, I imagine a full peony 
resting in bare hands.  
I’ll cradle it like the oversized head of a newborn 
as tiny insects tickle my wrists.  

In the quiet of bone-clutching winter, I see 
just where they’ll push through, reveal 
blossoms so voluptuous they tip down, lift spirits.
The gardener in me wakes up, 
inhales a sweet warm sniff.

This poem has been accepted for publication in 
the Rochester Post Bulletin newspaper.

Instead of a Valentine
On Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

If a couple gets married
and one commits suicide on February 11th,
is it anyone’s fault?
Feminists can blame all they want.
Husbands can lament and take lashes
while they rewrite poetry.
Like a blinking eye that opens then closes-

what is-is.  Unless it isn’t.
Depression was a black lung hung off
a rat’s tail on the tree by her window or-
asbestos pilled on plumbing pipes-unwrapped
and falling like snow-long before they said, ‘I DO.’
Long before, Sylvia swallowed 48 pills, slept
beneath her house, woke to try again.
Marriage is hard, poets complex,

Poetry is hard, marriage complex.
Like pulled threads in a sweater, they unraveled.
Depression created a triangle.  
Factor in children and the figure converted
to a love pentagon-where two people wanted winged
poems sailing space and three sides were left hanging.
Pentagon then add a lover? That’s a hexagon.
The shape shifted, lost all sides, became thread-a heart,
a pneumatic noose around her hair.

Sylvia gasped and faltered, fell asleep.  
She wrote every day in the dark before a baby 
banged pots on the floor, cried, ‘ma-ma,’
while Ted left to write, wrangle crows.
Rejection lassoes perfection. 

How romantic-two poets in the same house-
unparalleled love letters, mirrored muses:
in truth, for them, it was murder-
no, it was a contest-
no, it was academia-
publish, perish, publish, Pulitzer—no 

noose was wide enough to capture
the universe of words that broke her-
no-broke them.
Instead of a valentine,
the noose became a knot.

This poem was first published in the Furious Gazelle, 
a finalist in the February Writing Contest.  

Nowhere to Land

World on fire—eagle
wings flame like streamers
through clouds and wisp
past veiled eyes—nowhere to land.

He slips through smoke
where river kisses fire, ash dresses 
landscape—where bombs
blasted safe havens.

Sentient bird slides into ghost 
of atmosphere, casts memories
in oppressors’ shadows—pristine land 
scattered into colored bits.

Open mouths hidden in 
the wide expanse, beaks reaching
for whatever might fall from sky—
smoky taste of motherland.

Response to Prompt on Vox Poetica. 3-1-17 Eagle, by Glen Johnson

photo by Elizabeth Nida Obert / Rochester Post-Bulletin

Pamela Sinicrope resides in Rochester, MN, where she works part-time as a behavioral scientist and full-time as a wife and mother of three teenage boys, an aging German shepherd, and a 7-month-old pudelpointer.  She earned a BA in English and MPH and DrPH (Public Health) degrees from the University of Texas in Austin and Houston respectively. She contributes to and edits books of poetry on social issues with the group, Poets Unite Worldwide and she maintains a personal poetry blog, I Need Coffee: Poetry You Can Drink.  Recently, she has been published in The Furious Gazelle, Vox Poetica, and her local newspaper.  She enjoys reading, cooking, and playing tennis.


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