This series of erasures uses the Anne Rice novel Taltos as a source text. I elected to perform these erasures using plant materials as a way of celebrating and mourning our current ecological state; the breakneck speed of climate change and globalization is easily observed by those working in horticulture and conservation. In selecting materials for these erasures, I looked for plants that were accessible in the landscape during the month of October, and sought diversity of form, texture, colour, and botanical structures. This particular selection includes a variety of non-native plants; some are invasive, and some are merely naturalized in North America.
Palm Reading by Sparrow
Every morning my mother woke to the charmed zip of Sparrow’s cry. Nested in the maple outside her bedroom window, the old bird chirped until the pane rushed up its wooden frame. My mother paid for her fortune in breadcrumbs, extended her cupped hand and let the bird’s quill-prick beak stir the lifeline of her palm. Sparrow ticked the years my mother had left and mother lost count every time. It felt safe, this ritual. Each peck mark equally, predictably sharp. Long lifeline, Sparrow whispered, you will endure much.
such an uproar The noise
could break the face of the bronze moon the chimes questioning everything
Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in BOAAT, Ninth Letter, Poet Lore, and The Writer’s Almanac. She is a contributing editor at the Eastern Iowa Review, and the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks). Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine. You can follow her work at www.sonjajohanson.net.