Phoebe Marrall, orphaned at the age of nine, was a survivor of The Depression and of a grueling childhood. When she died in 2017 at the age of eighty-four, her daughters Jane Hendrickson and Camille Komine inherited hundreds of poems she had written. They remained unpublished during her lifetime, but it is the intention of her daughters that a collection be compiled for readers to appreciate. “Relief, Have You a Name?” is currently a work in progress, being edited by Gayle Jansen Beede.
I’D NEVER TITLE A POEM “HOPE”
Find a thought, little heart.
Beat, beat, find a way out.
Search and seek, look
straight into the light.
Look into dark, too, look more.
My heart, my eyes, still search.
Recesses contain ore.
My finger feels along, pokes.
My heart supposes relief
where there is only night.
GO, AND FEAST YOUR EYES
You must go down and visit those dream sites:
black places in hot parking lots, corners in
asphalt nearly melted, shimmering with white lines
and absolutely still in lethargic midday sun.
You must go to those forests Made in China:
lamps in boxes and fake flowers spilling from racks
mounted high above your reach with perfumed candles
and plastic Halloween pumpkins on rods.
You should go to the stark yardage rolls:
scrim cloth and light linen evened out above damask
and upholstery covering woven maroon and white,
and common broadcloth in starry prints.
The dream-fields, empty as they are fixed:
they await habitation, as dried mud awaits water,
for new fingering of red and blue plastic tote bags
and catchment of your eye in the solitude of pleasure.