Juggler's World: Vol. 42, No. 3


Black Plums

My father among apples
and melons, lost in pyramids
of hot-house perfections,
lifts a perfect black plum,
then another,
and another,
grips Mother's list
between his teeth,
and sees a useful thing to do
after all
in this strange, cold country
of plump perishables
and purposeful women.
He juggles the three
black plums,
one after the other tossed up
in circles,
a galaxy of blue-black planets
orbiting his head,
and the women
close in, drawn like the plums
to his magnetic field,
and I remember
he told me the moon
is moving
away from us - a
scientific fact - slow
withdrawal barely measurable,
and I see how things can slip
from sight, not noticed.
I watch his careful
tending to the plums,
circle him, desperate
to track the widening
revolution of plums,
like comets,
a blur now,
impossible to count.
I stand breathless
in my father's universe
trusting too much
to gravity.

Annette Bostrom
Encinitas, Calif.
(First published by Whiskey Island Magazine, Winter 1990 issue)

Learning to Juggle

It's like entering a foreign country
of the elbow and the hand.
You arrive on gesture, the lift
of each arm a sweep
through unknown quarters
of the city,
the arc of each palm a razor
whittling hidden streets
and doorways into view.

Repetition ticks its own insistence
from inside the wrist, bead
on bead of small bone knocking
on its neighbor
in a conga line of
castanets. The lever of the tune rises
and it falls, a baton of flesh,
a metronome beating
from the inside out.

In the end
there is no craft but bone
aligning with intention,
muscle on muscle,
as pattern pulls
and pulls
with each upswing
and finally insists itself
into the deeper, denser
comprehension of the flesh.

The three small balls
are flung out
into the sky's indifferent laws.
With each ascent,
they climb to break away
but are drawn back
and back
and back again
by the gravity
of what the body knows.

Vera Kroms
Brighton, Mass.
Poetry / Index, Vol. 42, No. 3 / jis@juggling.org
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.