Grace Marie Grafton is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Jester (2013), published by Hip Pocket Press. Ms. Grafton’s chapbook, Zero, (1999) won the Poetic Matrix Press contest. Her poetry has won honors from Bellingham Review, from San Francisco PEN Women’s Soul Making contests, from Sycamore Review and from Anderbo. Her poems have recently appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Cortland Review, Ambush Review, Askew, The Offending Adam, Sin Fronteras, Basalt, Mezzo Cammin, and others.
For over three decades, Ms. Grafton taught children to write poetry through the CA Poets in the Schools program, winning twelve Artist In Residence grants from the CA Arts Council for her teaching. She was awarded Teacher of the Year by the River Of Words Youth Poetry Contest, sponsored by Robert Hass, US Poet Laureate.
~The knell of winter~
At 4 pm on a Tuesday, air almost bite-able,
you think maybe you could play with it, invisible
man-of-air or un-see-able woman singing her
sharp cold note, tickles you down your neck. You
wish you knew the words in the dark colors pulled
up out of the pit where the days are stored. The
draftsman of the future down there, drawing the plans
in his blind state, feeling his way, trained from his
birth to do this each year as the light grows
wan and the chill undresses the trees, the waters
forget their underground ancestors boiled
by fundamental lava. The future’s plans all there
in his unreadable notebooks. And now the council
of the creators will spend ninety long nights
arguing about details and which of them must
roll naked in the snow to bring the future into being.
Sometimes you must toss the carcass
off the cliff, sometimes you must
climb into the canyon after it,
find it alive and wrap it
in a bitter, reviving answer.
Something it didn’t want to hear
which stings its blood. Listen
to it blubber, clean its eyes of grit,
admit it’s unattractive and a waste
of time, but it’s yours. If you hadn’t
thrown it over the edge and
clambered after it, neither of you
would be here in the layers of sunset
and the monarchy of water even where
it’s dry and every day a prayer
for rain and a sorrow for harm.