Dear Magnolia Ann (or Levitations on Divorce)
You had gone and it was a cold day when the contorted limbs
of the mind fight each other. In the Brooklyn drizzle, I spotted
the entrance into the gardens.
The cherry trees posed like emaciated mimes in sweet bareness.
It took only a hundred steps before the distortions of recent history
became spores and I began floating among them– detached, as if our
lives were a movie played out by illustrious flora.
Near the Doric pillars both our names greeted us–“Baronne Prevost”
and later, a shrub, “Magnolia Ann.” Their petals were tattered among
Clearly, it was immortal humor to transplant you in the north as “hardy,”
Magnolia, and I as “decorative.” That’s how it was on the delta.
You had your boot toe inside the earth and I was trying to be festive.
But truth needs time to grow.
The doctors were in the north, but no matter how far you bent toward
the earth, you had to return to where your roots began to spoil.
I hovered above our flora and we became obscured in the rain
and in the revelations and I had to let us go.
Missing the Details
The boy in my class won’t draw his hand
on the paper so I go toward him.
We are making a chart with the fingers
as the details and the palm as the main idea.
As I am tracing around his hand, I see
that half of his middle finger is missing.
I have to make a quick decision to either
draw it as if it’s whole or go around the stub.
My pen glides beyond the stunted bone
and curves as if there’s a fingertip, then
down again. The boy allows me my make-
believe drawing— my flight into myth,
until, finally, he lifts his hand and says,
“That’s your hand, not mine.”
Susan Ferraro Prevost is a native New Orleanian who grooves on being home, finally. She teaches and advocates for Latino refugees. She’s a published poet, photographer and short story writer and imagines herself floating down the Mississippi on a wooden raft.