Sylvia Ashby

for my mother

Amidst the fiery stars—souvenirs of the old explosion—
is there a murmur of music, a trailing whisper,
a silken ribbon of melody?
Not the persistent rhythmic hum—
that microwave remnant of ancient cosmic trauma—
but something that speaks of moments less spectacular:

Muted summer moments, twilight moods,
moods frail as buds
fading into translucent Havilland;
moments of vague and indefinable sadness
like looking into the eyes of an old man
on a Rembrandt canvas
and seeing his soul.

Do the heavens know of such moments?
Or only remember the first fire,
the shooting pains,
the sailing into a widening infinity,
into endless black adventure:
Microwaves still echoing the original separation.


Sylvia Ashby has a background in theater, acting and writing. She has published 15 plays for family audiences; those scripts have enjoyed thousands of productions across several continents. In the spring of  2013, she published a short memoir in This prompted her to send out poetry. She now has a dozen pieces appearing in lit. mags (Glass, Right Hand Pointing, Vine Leaves, Constellations, Hermes, From the Depths, Moon Magazine) and in a forthcoming anthology of Black Mountain College poetry.

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