Apr. 19, 2009


by Diane Lockward

Deep-blue hue of the body, silvery bloom
on its skin. Undersized runt of a fruit,
like something that failed to thrive, dented top
a fontanel. Lopsided globe. A temperate zone.
Tiny paradox, tart and sweet, homely
but elegant afloat in sugar and cream,
baked in a pie, a cobbler, a muffin.

The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&M's, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.

Sundays she scooped them into pancake batter,
poured circles onto the hot greased griddle, sizzled
them gold and blue, doused with maple syrup.

This is what I want to remember: my mother
and me, our quilted robes, hair in curlers,
that kitchen, that table,
plates stacked with pancakes, blueberries sparkling
like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky,
the universe in reverse,
the two of us eating blueberry pancakes.

"Blueberry" by Diane Lockward, from What Feeds Us. © Wind Publications, 2006. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of Trinidadian-Canadian writer Neil Bissoondath, (books by this author) born in Arima, Trinidad (1955). He's the nephew of V.S. Naipaul. He is the author of The Unyielding Clamour of the Night (2005) and The Soul of All Great Designs (2008).

It's the birthday of children's author and illustrator Jon Agee, (books by this author) born in Nyack, New York (1960). He's the author of The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau (1988), Flapstick: 10 Ridiculous Rhymes with Flaps (1993). He also wrote a book of palindromes — phrases that read the same forwards and backwards — called GO HANG A SALAMI! I'M A LASAGNA HOG! (1991).

It's the birthday of poet Etheridge Knight, (books by this author) born in Corinth, Mississippi (1931). He dropped out of school and ran away from home. In 1960, he was arrested for robbery and went to the Indiana State Prison. It was there that he started writing poetry. His first book, Poems from Prison, was published in 1968, a year before he was released, and he went on to publish many more books. He said, "I died in 1960 from a prison sentence and poetry brought me back to life."

It was on this day in 1943 that an uprising began in the Warsaw ghetto. There were about 300,000 Jews in Warsaw, and thousands more refugees streamed in from smaller towns. In 1940, the Nazis built a wall around a small section of the city and forced all the Jews into it. Conditions were horrible. In the winter, there were fuel shortages, and people succumbed to influenza. A small resistance movement began to organize. Then, in 1942, the Nazis deported more than 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the concentration camp in Treblinka. Reports of mass murder leaked back to the ghetto, and the resistance movement gained momentum. And on this day in 1943, the first day of Passover, hundreds of German soldiers entered the ghetto in rows of tanks, planning to destroy the ghetto in three days. But resistance fighters fought back, and they held on for almost a month.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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