Eileen Malone

Eileen Malone

Eileen Malone has published her poetry in over 500 literary journals and publications and been nominated for Pushcarts four times. Her award winning chapbook Letters with Taloned Claws was published by Poets Corner Press (Sacramento) and book I Should Have Given Them Water by Ragged Sky Press (Princeton) and most recently It Could Be Me, Although Unsure by Kelsay Books. She founded and directs the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition, and is a voting member of the Northern California Book Reviewers Awards. She has worked with the California Poets in the Schools Program and taught a local bay area community colleges.



I blow apart dandelion fluffs
scatter winged seeds over
primroses, marsh marigolds
things unsaid, undone between
my daughter and myself

a ewe approaches her lamb
that nibbles a half-curled frond
of fiddlehead fern into the shape
of an unknown alphabet’s capital letter
found in secret text on girl-mothering

words impossible to transcribe
shaped like the tender surrenders
I could have had with her, letting
her know she wasn’t traveling alone
when she thought she was

how I should have stood guard
when the ravenous wolf who crouched
in her shadow lay lightly down and slept

a ewelamb spins and kicks
trots into and out of daughterhood
too fast, will probably be fed
and bedded, cared for, protected
a few more months
then slaughtered, butchered

the mother bred again, or sold as mutton

there is no absolution
nothing to forgive but time
and its disappearance

and nothing left
but dandelion puffs and
the scarlet fall of a lost ladybug
caught in a cowslip
trampled under hoof.


I would watch her, sit on the edge of her bed
the reflection of my barefoot boy-self
out of range in her dressing table mirror
watch my beautiful mother
brush her blackly beautiful hair
the kind of hair that begs to be taken out dancing
and when I think of dancing I think of her step
light ankled like the wild Sika deer

I remember how she brushed her hair
up from the mystery that was herself, catching it
twisting it into a Celtic knot, singing
with the voice of blackbird, her throat whiter
than any lily wet with sun

but that was then, and this is now
before she stopped singing, dancing
banished me from sitting on that same bed
she took to, refused to rise from
let the tangles wither in her hair
tossed in fever and deliriums and began to die
and die and die and die

and all I want to do is write about her hair
her hair, the kind of black hair
found only on young Irish women
straight, silken in its awful glamour of black
how I would sing into the harp of it
silvered with sheen and she would sing back
kissing me to sleep her midnight black hair
a halo of incessant scent of daffodil breath
tea leaves, lily of the valley

sometimes when the boy becomes the man
we have to change the truth
in order to remember someone
the way we want to
–I turn the mirror to the wall.