Dark Lady Poetry - Dayna Patterson




Dayna Patterson









Wait for the first frost
he said
The limbs sag with fruit
hundreds of swollen green eggs
wait for the frost
and they will be
pure sugar in your mouth
is already sugar in the mouth—
She watches the fruit ripen
to tangerine brightness
They're not ready till they
swell like water balloons,
near rottenness
She waits
She reflects how
people are like persimmons
the sweetest mellowed
by the chill touch of adversity
Her grandfather's shingles
were a blowtorch to his chest;
he pinned a sock roll to his pocket
to keep shirt from grazing burnt flesh
Yet folks feel like kin, and kin
like kings in the warmth of his love
and kindness
She waits for the frost
and hopes her tongue will love
the cold fruit


The Spanish Professor's Wife

Doesn't speak Spanish.
She knows enough to understand
when the homeless woman calls out huera,
sparking titters among the group
waiting at the bus stop.
She can order food at the Mexican restaurant
(but not without a shivery stomach,
intruder tripping her tongue).
Estar and ser: a mystery.
She took French in school,
visited France, lived in Québec.
French is the language of love, he says.
English the language of business, he says.
Then, Spanish is the language of God.
She feels instinctively that he is right.
No half dropped words,
deceitful consonants, vague vowels.
Not so Teutonic, clipped, dominating.
There is a pure openness in Spanish,
consonants the mouth can love,
vowels sincere as pilgrim's vows.
Or maybe she is remembering the Béquer
on a slip of blue sky
patched to her windshield.
Or the whispered de Vega
on the tabernacle steps.
She remembers half understanding,
his warm breath,
the rustle of poetry on paper,
and promises to learn.





Small fingers sweep
from armpit to breastbone,
brushing the full
curve of her breast.
She knows the milk
is sweet and rich
from the focus
of his face.
In a moment that feels
something like sin,
she tastes her own milk.
In the shower,
dripping and warm,
it pools in her open palm
white rainwater on a leaf.
In that crude cup
she dips her tongue like a cat—
yes,        sweet,
thin like skim.
It leaks from the corner of his lips
turned up in a crescent moon
and sweeps his eyes
with spilled stars.





Dayna Patterson earned her BA from Utah State University and her MA in Literature from Texas State University-San Marcos. She teaches writing at Stephen F. Austin State University. Her poems have appeared in Persona and Words Work. She lives with her husband, Charles, and their daughters, Madeleine and Lily.