Green is the color of beginnings, of memory and regeneration, of the “fluid arc of what has been, / forever becoming us.” John Blair’s debut poetry collection, The Green Girls, takes the reader on a journey through life as it explores such subjects as marriage, family, and sex. Written in several voices, from husband and wife, brother and sister, young and old, the poems remind us that paradise “doesn’t invite us back.” Although filled with sadness and pain, Blair’s elegantly written free verse resonates with a quiet optimism even while discussing losses and lapses that give life both its terror and its potential for redemption.
A youngest brother turns seventeen with a click as good as a roar,
finds the door and is gone.
You listen for that small sound, hear a memory.
The air-raid sirens howled of summer tornadoes, the sound
thrown back against the scattered thumbs
of grain silos and the open Oklahoma plains
like the warning wail of insects.
Repudiation is fast like a whirlwind.
Only children don’t know that all you live is leaving.
Yes, the first knowledge that counts is that everything stops.
Even in the bible-belt, second comings are promises
you never really believed.
Excerpted from “Cicada” published in The Green Girls by John Blair. Copyright ©2003 by John Blair. All rights reserved.
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