Lynn Tudor Deming
Runner-up 2017 Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry
Judged by Rebecca Foust
Followed by Bio and Q&A
—in memory of Jennifer B. Riggs
Bare-headed he stood in the sun-struck field to tell
a story about his sister that had more of her light in it
than any others he remembered: the day of the kite.
It was enormous, five by nine foot, a bamboo pole
lashed to the cross piece with electrician’s tape,
the sail painted with tapezoids, flowers, the zodiac.
Their colors soaked clear through the sheet so it shone
like a church window, back-lit by north light.
They decided to fly it on Rabinovich’s hill over
the headwaters of Beaver Brook Creek, where
the wind was blowing south south-west and strong.
They tied it to an apple tree, straining against
its unexpected pull, the bucking and heaving of
some wild totemic bird. When they unleashed it
he nearly left the ground, and she shouted: Cut
the line, let’s watch it fly, see how far it goes!
They watched it sail off over Lord’s Highway until
it was only a speck, then nothing, and he cried:
I can’t see it anymore, it’s gone! She was gazing
at the sky. Oh no, she told him, these are the ones
you never forget—stuff like this, that’s forever.
Lynn Tudor Deming’s chapbook, “Heady Rubbish,” was selected by Robert Pinsky for the Philbrick Poetry Prize in 2005. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Bellingham Review, New South, and in the anthology WAVES: A Confluence of Womens’ Voices. In 2015 she was a finalist in the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, and she received her second International Publication Prize from Atlanta Review. She was also national runner-up in the 2011 Cape Cod National Poetry Competition (judge Gerald Stern). She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and lives in Connecticut.
The poem was written for my cousin, who died at age 61 of lung cancer. I am grateful to her brother, Jared Green, for his unforgettable evocation at her memorial service.
What is your favorite dietary pleasure?
Fresh purple plums, for their sweet and sour succulence, almost impossible to find now, but one of the most pungent memories of my childhood.
You’ve just discovered a new planet. What are you going to name it?
Elysion. Why not project on to an unknown planet our ancient longings for the fields of paradise?
Which is your favorite season: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
Spring, for all the usual reasons. Re-birth of everything.