Simons & Menon – May 2016
Katherine Menon and Martha Simons traded art and words. Martha shared this image, entitled “Crow Spirits 2,” with Katherine:
In response, Katherine wrote this poem:
Piercing Shadow: a response to “Crow Spirits 2”
What is it you see, dark feather,
when you traverse the barrier,
gliding along the luminous path to which
your watchful eyes are accustomed?
I have glimpsed it twice
under a spotted blue glare,
the cold table where my blood
separated from me and
rendered life, brilliant,
their cries of being, immaculate.
Which change do you manifest
as you peer from the opportunistic void of
fullness and the glorious agony,
altering form to energy?
I have flown there once
by hands and mouth, in
ethereal exploration of the physical
form. On the edge of the bed and
conscious reality, face expressive,
tasting infinite sleep.
What exchange might you orchestrate
for this bleak impression of
humanness, teetering on scales,
affected by feather and gold?
I have requested it, infinitely.
The honored ones, who
precede and navigate the recesses,
attract with glowing
beaks that pierce shadow and rend
light, their magics not lost.
But not you, lovely bird. Only me.
* * * * *
Katherine shared this poem with Martha:
Saturday Morning Ritual
Her shuffling feet occasionally slap the floor with
Thuds of sloth as she stumbles from her room,
Twelve hours of sleep behind her. She greets me with an
exasperated grunt of disapproval as if my being
awake and in her immediate space is an affront to
What she deserves upon waking. “I’m so tired; I got no sleep,”
she grumbles with an accusing eye as if to say
‘You wouldn’t know; you don’t work.’
Billy (2) runs over to hug her leg, and she grumbles
Again because he is still in his PJs. He has been awake for five hours:
I fed him breakfast and lunch,
changed his diaper twice,
washed his face and hands, and
kept him from her door (that’s where his clothes were) so she could sleep—
Though I thought it would only be an hour or two.
“I need coffee. Where’s the creamer?”
She pours the creamer, noticing how much is in the bottle. “What do you do
…fill your cup with creamer and splash a little coffee on top?” She eyes me with unspoken accusation:
‘I bought this, and I don’t even get any?’
I sniff at my coffee, the milk in it unsatisfying.
Of course she forgets that I bought the last two and
never commented on how much she used it nor
did I even consider it
…as she warms her cup in my microwave and
drops the coffee-covered spoon on the counter. She walks to the deck
and grumbles, “Can’t even do the dishes. We are going to get bugs.”
But she didn’t notice that the dishes were rinsed and
stacked, and that she had spilled creamer, sugar and coffee all over the counter.
She slams the door and sits outside for twenty minutes, begrudgingly
letting her son join her on the deck
fifteen minutes in, his sobs and calls of “mommy”
finally irritating her enough to give in.
When she comes in, splashing coffee on the floor and
walking right through it rather than picking up her shuffling feet,
I tentatively ask, “Can I have my keys, please?”
“Where are you going?
“I have to run some errands.”
“When will you be back? Jimmy wants to go out his mom’s today.”
That’s right. His mom got paid yesterday, so she will have pills or
cash that Jimmy can “borrow.”
“I’m not sure. Probably be done soon.”
“Ugh. I have to get Billy down for a nap in a few hours. He is tired
And I wanted to go to the store. Well…can you
At LEAST get me some Mt. Dew since you used
all the creamer, at least? I’m tired; I worked all night.”
The 6-midnight shift at the grocery store is
slow and quiet. Waking at two in the afternoon
doesn’t afford much time to do things, I suppose.
“Do you want me to take the car tonight?”
“Do I want you to? No, not particularly. Are you asking to take the car?”
“You know what I mean…ugh. I wish I could get money for doing nothing,
but I work. God, why are you being like that?”
“Right.” And I go to the deck to have
A cup of coffee with milk in it.
In response, Martha made this image, entitled “Buddha Bunny”: