Eloise Klein Healy, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emerita, was the founding chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the author of six books of poetry. Her most recent collection, The Islands Project: Poems For Sappho, is from Red Hen Press. Ms. Healy directed the Women’s Studies Program at California State University Northridge and taught in the Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. She is the co-founder of ECO-ARTS, an eco-tourism/arts venture and founding editor of Arktoi Books. Healy is a Resident Poet at the Idyllwild Summer Poetry Festival.

                                          for my mother

I come from having a job,
getting up in the dark
and dressing in the dark
and trudging downtown
before breakfast.

I come from being the breakfast maker
and the “good morning” sayer.
I come from owning the stools
where they hang their heels,
owning the ear they buy
with their coffee,
silent as the silent money
in the tray.

I come from going home after work
to bake pies, pie crusts and cakes.
I come from eating standing up
because I’m feeding others.
I come from in the alley, meeting
the man from Kitty Clover potato chips
and at the curb getting the donuts
from the truck, carrying the receipts
to the bank, checking off with a pencil
figures the teller reads back.

I come from being busy all the time,
the customer is always right,
our coffee is the best.

Passing (Red Hen Press, 2002)

The Grackle On The Lawn

She wants the blossom.
She wants the seeds in the grass.

She wants the beautiful thing.
She wants to eat.

It’s so simple, she’s like a person.

She wants the beautiful thing.
She wants to eat.

She’s like a person, she wants to live
with that beautiful blossom and she wants to eat.

She flies off with the blossom in her beak.

The Islands Project: Poems For Sappho (Red Hen Press, 2007)

Recipe with Dogs

Dogs, out of the kitchen!—repeated five times in ascending notes
hands sweep through the air with or without cooking implement.
Don’t drop anything because two dogs are waiting at the edge

of the tile for the cook to turn her back and shift her attention to
the REAL recipe, the one with at least a countertop full of leafy
things with fronds dropping where a skillful dog can reach and run

from the room with cilanto, kale, beet tops, anything green
and gorgeous precursor to that breast of chicken unswaddled
from its Saran wrap and pretty “possible” in the mind of a dog

whose owner is reaching into the cupboard, back turned,
not quite as mindful as she should be, silly believer
in what she just said for the three millionth time—like dogs care

about repetition, maybe being reincarnations of those kitchen-loving
poodles Gertrude Stein used to spoil with little treats
and little oppsy-dipsy pet, little smoochy-mouth French words.

“What’s Cookin’?” Postcard Project/Writers At Work

Eloise Klein Healy Moonday poetry reading

© 2008 Eloise Klein Healy

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