Elaine Cavanaugh’s poems have appeared in numerous publications, including two chapbooks, Quiet Rain at Shining Rock, and Tapestry of Me. Some of these poems appear in these chapbooks. She lives and works in Hartland, Wisconsin. The title of her chapbook-in-progress is Green.




Gathering Kudzu Flowers in August

Women clutch cloth sacks in their fists
as they set out to gather kudzu flowers

for the making of sweet-pea-flavored,
pale, garnet-colored jellies. Sleepy

snakes stir from deep inside the green
sleeves of the kudzu giant. The women

snatch at these, pass them along to their
children. Each child’s face sweetens

at the thought of taking home an emerald
pet beneath the "punctuated lid" of a glass
pickle jar.


Copyright © by Elaine Cavanaugh




Driving to Jellico

Driving south, a sun tunnel,
a womb, a mouth beneath water.

Waves of leaves stroke summer apples,
this color is dark-sunken when we reach

Jellico in the heated heart of coal country,
Soon enough, Tennessee stones encircle

a hill, a cornucopia of tomb. Rural counties,
in centuries of old wood, ignore me.


Copyright © by Elaine Cavanaugh




A Poem for Vincent

I forgot to include sun’s angle on petals, stalks
and leaves. I left out the light most artists would

die for. I wrote a flat-noted poem about colors
and family and how they remind me of carnival rides.

I forgot light pausing on pond water, silver slivers
of light through clouds, moons of sunflowers at noon.

Well, Vincent did it too--got caught up in faces,
shapes, patterns and strange, bursting shades of green.

I watch as an old peasant man in a straw hat rests
his weight on a wooden cane. His hat is Naples yellow,

his eyes are black seeds in a sun-weathered face.
His spine leans forward like the drying stalk of a tall
field flower on an autumn day in Arles.


Copyright © by Elaine Cavanaugh



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