Thursday, November 26, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Brotherhood of the Midnight Snack” by Ellaraine Lockie, Poet of the Week

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Brotherhood of the Midnight Snack” by Ellaraine Lockie, Poet of the Week.  A brief bio of Lockie may be found here:

Brotherhood of the Midnight Snack
Ellaraine Lockie

He makes it at midnight
An ensemble of garlic fried in olive oil
leftover rice and two eggs as top hats

An elaboration on the long-ago 
bread fried in bacon grease
and dressed in Lawry's Seasoned Salt
A rite he brought home from college
into which he initiated his little sister
during summer breaks

When we'd eat in the breakfast nook
Lights out to watch fireflies spark the darkness
Curtains breathing in and out of the open windows
after an oven-baked day
Lilacs balming air that carried outdoor  
conversations of mosquitoes and crickets 

Inside, words sacred between siblings
What really went on at college 
and in the fourth grade
Words that built the bridge that would
transport me out of farm life when most stayed
Now between bites of garlic fried rice
We talk of what really goes on in a marriage
a divorce, children, a job
Lights dim to see the birdbath outside the window 
The water smooth, polished by the aged moon
An acorn plinks concrete and stills for the night 

Purple lilacs shadow the surrounding peace
and a moth flutters a soft motor on the screen
Not a thing except thunder in the throat of distance
to warn us that this would be our last midnight rite

Poet’s Notes:  This poem is a product of deep mourning for the loss of my brother who was also my best friend.  It’s an example of how poetry can perform its miracle of healing, not only for the poet but also for readers who perhaps may not be able to write their own expressions of grief.  And sometimes reading such a poem inspires readers to write their own poems dealing with loss.

For me, this poem is a tribute but also a way of keeping the memory of a loved one alive.  Qualities in a poem offer so much more than does a photograph, which completely supports the viewpoint in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review that “ . . . a good poem may be worth a thousand pictures.”  A poem can employ all of our senses.  When reading “Brotherhood of the Midnight Snack" I can smell the garlic and lilacs, taste the bacon and seasonings, and hear my brother’s baritone voice, the crickets, the acorn plinking, and the distant thunder.  I feel the night’s peace that precedes that thunder.  My mind’s eye sees an animated brother sitting across from me—the real him, not a camera’s version.  What a gift poetry gives to us, whether writing it ourselves or reading that of others.

Editor’s Note:  I enjoy the repartee between the siblings and feel a part of their exclusive club as I read.  What a beautiful elegy it is. Brotherhood of the Midnight Snackwas first published in Caesura in 2011.

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