Author: Marjorie Saiser
Format: Paperback, 105 pages
Published: July 1999
Awards for Bones of a Very Fine Hand
The Nebraska Book Award for Poetry, 2000
Critical Praise for Bones of a Very Fine Hand
Marjorie Saiser is a Nebraska wordsmith. Whispers of the Niobrara, Keya Paha, Platte, and prairies run rich through her poems. I felt a poignant fullness in my heart while reading this book, because the author sees life as it was and is. Nothing blocks her view of beauty, joy, despair, the supernatural or commonplace when Ms. Saiser puts her words to paper.
In Once, she tells of her father taking her mother’s picture. It’s a picture the young husband will carry with him to war: “…crossing the equator, a plains boy in New Guinea / carrying among the baby pictures my / mother young and true and lovely, / long legs bared to the sun.” Learning of her daughter’s pregnancy in We Get the News far outstrips the news of car bombings and business as usual: “Flower in my daughter’s narrow body, / I want to think there is that which prevails.”
Marjorie Saiser sees love everywhere–in old photographs and letters, in fields, mountains and oceans, by the perfume counter at Dillard’s, in once strong hands that falter–and shares that love with us. Ms. Saiser writes–creates–with a very fine hand.
• Laurel Johnson – Midwest Book Review
Poems from Bones of a Very Fine Hand
I Don’t Want to Think About You
Go talk to your friends in the town.
Sit in the tavern and play cards.
Stop tipping the rabbit hutch,
the rabbits dropping out the door like
brown and white marbles.
You’re getting your crowbar,
smashing the hollyhocks,
hitting the pink and yellow ears
of the flowers with the heavy
hook of your crowbar, beating
on the ground, beating the straw
bale to pieces, pounding it, beating
the pump in the yard, prying up
the old sidewalk under the cedars
in front of the house, you’re going into the
shed, you’re beating your old model T,
opening the doors and hitting the windows,
the seat, dust rising every time you bring
the crowbar down, you don’t have to
wreck everything like this, I forgive you,
none of this is necessary, you’re
beating the stucco off the
falling off the walls like pieces of crackers.
Pounding the cedars, pounding the trunks,
breaking the mason jars in the bushel baskets,
you’re going down the cellar steps, I could
push the door shut with my little girl hands,
I could keep you down there. I could roll
the heavy two-wheel cart over and I could
push it onto the door of the cellar, leave it
and run away. You are breaking jars,
gallons of pickles and applesauce. You’re
in the kitchen, smashing a loaf of bread
on the white enamel counter, the crowbar
over your head, you bring it down,
you are smashing the curved glass
of the china cabinet, smashing the wood
itself as if it would bend over in the middle
holding its old stomach,
you rip the bed with the crowbar,
beat the mattress and the blanket.
I run to the cage in the living room,
where the canary is; in the bedroom you are
banging the metal of the bed, beating
with the crowbar, noise, iron,
it will shiver hands and arms,
it must make old evil h
they must be numb.
I carry the cage
into the yard, I run to the road,
the cage bumping against my ribs,
I stand in the road, the noise
an anvil hammered, hammered,
I open the door but the canary is afraid,
does not fly. It is afraid of my hand,
small in the cage.
For a moment I hold it
crumpled like yellow paper.
I draw out my hand, a bird,
throw it, a fist,
uncaged, into the sky.