We were all Eurydices back then
in love with one another’s brothers.
Before boys, the plastic Palomino
on windowsill, seam line sharp down gut,
sentry of the dewed indigo panes,
curtains parted. Before horse, Paint By
Number with contour map of blue ovals,
linked plastic pots propped open like the keys
on a sax. Before art, the brandy glass
of Easter candy high on pantry shelf,
felt ears and tail glued fast by Grandma.
Before Grandma, the goldfish gorging self
on pastel flakes we pinched over bowl’s rim
’til his mouth ceased trailing beads of air.
Before death, silver balls of mercury—
free of thermometer we broke—keeping
shape down sidewalk, lodging in the cracks.
Before mistakes, first carrot—root in dirt!
we hosed clean to taste, so sweet.
Before garden, pink hippopotamus—
a pillowcase—and brother’s, blue walrus
at bedtime, falling asleep to father’s piano,
unaware we’d have to play all parts:
viper, boy, girl, even lover’s harp,
cold as metal gate on horse ranch, headlights
of my brother’s truck, my girlfriend
choosing him, her hands in back pockets.
I walked gravel lane to main road alone,
sound of ocean to the left, stable half
doors closed, all the horses in.
Tania Pryputniewicz, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is a co-founding blogger for Tarot for Two and the author of November Butterfly (Saddle Road Press, 2014). Tania’s poems are forthcoming in A Year In Ink, Chiron Review, Nimrod International Journal, and Whale Road Review. She teaches a monthly poetry workshop for San Diego Writers, Ink, and lives in Coronado, California with her husband, three children, blue-eyed Husky, and a portly housecat named Luna. She can be found online at www.taniapryputniewicz.com.
I once knew of a girl named Eurydice; the repetition of “befores” in the poem pulled me from the sound of her name back into the near twin peace I shared with my brother as a girl (we are 10 and ½ months apart) and on into the subsequent universal angst of adolescent separation, Hades tinged and lit with rivaling temptations.
Where have you lived—states, countries, etc.?
I have lived in upstate New York, San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury), on a commune in Illinois, in the tiny town of Villa Grande under the redwoods in Northern California, in Denmark as an AFS exchange student, in the heartland of Iowa, and Southern California.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Any toppings?
I’ve recently defected from my childhood love for mint chip to coffee ice cream. No toppings.
With whom, living or dead, would like to share dinner and why?
I’d love nothing more than to pack a picnic basket and stroll with the late sculptor, painter, filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) through the grounds of Il Giardiano Dei Tarocchi, her Tarot Sculpture Garden in Tuscany, Italy. I’d love to write poetry in response to her sculptures.