Poems by Patricia Zylius

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And Then Fukushima

by Patricia Zylius

From Canary Winter 2017-18

Patricia has lived in the same house in Santa Cruz, California, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River for 47 years.

So let us go down singing,
howl with humpbacked whales,
take up the click and whistle
of wandering dolphins.
Let doves’ laments thrum through us,
cry of the red-shouldered hawk
pierce our voices bloody.
Let us moan among soughing trees,
pin black notes that fly from crows
to our bare breasts.
Praise the fugue makers, gray-faced mothers
croaking lullabies over fevered babies.
Let our tongues clack cricket percussion.
Drum thunder, bellow elk.
Let a wild requiem rise in our throats.


by Patricia Zylius

From Canary Fall 2017

— Monsanto’s early transgenic potatoes caused severe organ damage and blood abnormalities in test rats, but Monsanto suppressed the report. Poor sales made the company quietly retire the product.

I recognize the parentage of my potatoes,
small purple fingers, marbled inside,
sweet and creamy. It’s years since I first planted
their great grandmothers. Each fall I save
a few of the most vibrant. In the spring,
winter cover crop dug in, I sow the eager tubers,
careful not to break off any shoots,
then mulch with fragrant compost.
Every generation comes up succulent and true.
When the tops have bloomed and withered,
I slip the spading fork into the ground,
lift the smooth-skinned jewels
and spread them on the path to dry
while I inhale the soil’s breath.

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