Buckeye

Melissa Dickson Click to read more...

mdickson-207Melissa Dickson’s debut collection, Cameo, was published in 2011 by New Plains Press. Her work has recently appeared in North American Review, Southern Humanities Review, Literary Mama, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her Medusa-themed poems are forthcoming under the title Sweet Aegis in 2013. She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from SVA and an MFA in poetry from Converse College. She is a mother of four.

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It didn’t make sense to invest so much
in a pocketed nut. But for ten sure springs,
my grandmother withdrew a buckeye
from her purse and placed it in my palm.

I was a mother three times over,
my grandmother long buried, before I missed
them. This morning, passing her home, I saw
a bright fruit hanging, strange as Fatima’s Eye

and trespassed beyond the present
resident’s curb to glimpse close what I knew
I’d never seen. Who’d have bet by dinner
I’d tell my children how gamblers hollow

and fill them with mercury? Or that I’d
finally grasp the weight of her bargain,
grace that can’t be banked, or left in a will,
an annual transaction turned to spare me

bad marriages, collisions, infants sick
and dead. Lush as plums in split suede shells,
her buckeyes still fall where she caught them
dark in the cup of her own luckless palm.

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