Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine

Mater Terra
by Linda Perlman Fields

—for a proud Ritchie Boy

My father never returned to the motherland
where he learned how to hide
the precarious liability of his genetic code.
“Too many earthquakes” he said.
I knew the truth was buried in the trauma,
not of the ground shaking, or the broken pieces
of pink palaces and painted monasteries
or in the debris from Belle Époque houses
and colorful garden mosaics, but in
the breaking of his brother, his father,
and the circuitous flight of his mother,
an exotic bird smuggled by the good graces
of a parish priest.

It was the indelible image of a friend hanging,
fresh meat in the window of the local butcher
in a city called the Little Paris of the East,
where haute couture draped the elite and
French dripped from their lips, where sewing
uniforms for the King’s army served to outfit him
with protection from the crumbling constitutional order
until it didn’t.

My father never believed in life after death.
Nevertheless, with the steadiness of terra firma,
I wish him a happy birthday every year.

About the Author

Linda Perlman Fields is a Peabody-winning journalist and former English teacher with a passion for poetry. Her poems appear in the anthologies “Pennsylvania Bards Northeast Poetry Review”, “Trees in a Garden of Ashes” and online in various  publications. She writes from her home in Milford, Pa.