I knew it would be an emotional, heart wrench of an experience when I pulled it from the package. This collection of poems, published by one of my favorite small presses – Main Street Rag, is the work of my friend and fellow poetry critique member, Kimberly Blum-Hyclak, or simply Kim to us who love her.
in the GARDEN of LIFE AND DEATH – A Mother and Daughter Walk is also part of my experience as I listened on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s over the years as Kim shared their birth and growth with we privileged few. Still there were many surprises and the verses that I had already met are more poignant in the midst of their published friends.
This is a generational journey of mother and child, child and mother, granddaughter and grandmother. The mother is both witness and participant as the story progresses. Kim does not sugar coat the experience, there are no band-aids to cover the pain, and as you let her words sweep your heart, embed themselves in your emotional plane; you begin to see the incredible depth that is present in life and death.
My daughter, still alert, makes up stories
about “the little bug” – the blips of light racing in a circle
timing her temperature. She draws her mouthwash
for chemo sores into a syringe while we count cc’s,
compare them to teaspoons. She asks what is the word
that means dying and coming back as someone else?
Knowing my sister is pregnant and wouldn’t it be cool
That if I died I could come back as Aunt Lynda’s baby?! (Baseline 4-5-93)
Amongst the chemo,needles, tears, and stark fear are incredible bursts of normality:
The air is cooler, lighter, we breathe easier. We whisper
messages across the playground through hidden tubes.
Zachary, Gabrielle and Nicholas race
from structure to structure, the rubbing padding thuds (Finley Park)
the brilliant color of laughter:
red clay, stain their shorts, underwear and skin. They giggle
in the spray of cold water from the hose before I wrap
them in towels, allow them back in. Brother and sister graft
together over treks in the woods and snacks
from the garden. My stomach rounds (Dance Of Fertility Gods And Goddesses)
I step forward
secure in my footing
and the firm foundation,
the stones ahead of me
lead to another’s garden. (Stepping Stones)
I have purchased several copies of this book. Some of them will be gifts, one will go by my bedside, and the other will go with me in my satchel as my family has embarked on its journey. Kim’s words are my voice, at this time, when I find it easier not to speak.
You can visit Kimberlyn Blum-Hyclak at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Street Rag’s web address is: http://www.mainstreetrag.com