How You Began

in Poetry
By Penny Perry

After Dawson Young

for Danny

OxalisyellowThe front of the year. Your father and I. A soft night in a little back house on Raymond.

Neighbor children, Susie, Karen, Steve safe in bed for the night.

A love song in Spanish from the cottage across the street. Enrique’s cigarette glowing under the avocado tree.

Love, ripe like the oranges, lanterns in the trees. You were made in Ocean Park at the beginning of the year.

The sea, a skein of gold five city blocks away under a full moon.

The trolley with lights and bells trundling up the boardwalk.

Women in babushkas, men in prayer shawls. Bonfires on the beach.

Ukuleles and bongos. Poets and junkies seeing magic in the flames.

You began in the bedroom with the slanted roof. Yellow oxalis blooming wild at our door.


About Penny Perry: A three time Pushcart nominee, twice for poetry and once for fiction, my stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines. Fiction Daily tagged my short story “Haunting the Alley,” published online in Literary Mama in August 2011. My first collection of poetry, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage, was published in 2012 by Garden Oak Press. The collection earned praise from Marge Piercy, Steve Kowit, Diane Wakoski, and Maria Gillan. Read more here.

Photo credit: Oxalis by John Tann via a Creative Commons license