Chris Llewellyn's Poems
The broom-maker and his wife,
both blind, carried their craft
from door to door. In Sunday best
he stroked the straws to show
how carefully he counted, then
bound them in a strong red cord.
She’d ruffle his besoms of sorghum
twigs—stiff and rough enough to
sweep out gutter spouts or
hearthstones. Her blue, wide eyes
had never seen, and his, child-
sized, stayed closed under
a shock of brown hair. Are lights
shut off, paper shades drawn down
in their two room nest downtown?
In one, poles and panicles
wait in particular places, while
in another the iron bedstead,
fragrant with broomcorn and sawdust,
strums its tuneful harpstrings
into their moonstruck darkness.
Great grandmother in dacron brocade suit,
snowflake prayer cap, props her spiral spine
hymnal on the altar rail and raising
her lace hanky, prompts the early arrivers
to join in: "Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills..." The congregation rises
in response, rolling their rich lyrics
over the double glass storm doors, down
the gravel path of parked cars into
the fallen winter cornstalks.
A stack of tambourines rests on the aisle
end of each white pine pew of the Morning
Star Hill Pentecostal. When the guitar
and piano strike introductory chords,
cousins in bows and cornrows rock
the bench, bat-jingle bat-jingle-bam.
On Daddy’s lap, baby Elizabeth lifts
this instrument in her one-year-old arms,
and with perfect fingers she taps-taps
slowly, slowly, the silver circle bangles.
Swift as wing beats
you dart between
counter and grill.
on your red shirt not
as jet as netted hair.
Ten egg suns shimmer
easy-over paddy ground
sausage as you turn
down tiny jet flames
spoon up clouds of grits.
Momentarily your head rests
on the microwave and there
closed-eyed and sighing
do you hear the netted heart?