This poem by New Orleans poet Sheryl St. Germain sings of soft, quiet evenings and the joyous, seering details that make home feel like home.
It’s from the collection Let It Be a Dark Roux (published by the excellent Autumn House Press, a nonprofit literary publisher based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). The poems share St. Germain’s impressions of growing up in New Orleans, the challenges of being a woman, and the heritage of Cajun/Creole culture.
In an interview, she said, ‘Writing — especially poetry writing — helps me to lay things out in all their complexity. Here is the thing in all its horror and ambiguity, and maybe there is a small insight that comes out of that. It helps me to imagine other sides of a story, imagine what might have been, honor grief and darkness.’
This poem is dedicated to her grandmother Theresa Frank.
and it feels like going home.
Sheryl St. Germain is a native of New Orleans, a poet, an essayist, and a fiber artist. She was a teacher for decades — The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Knox College, Iowa State University, and Chatham University — and is the co-founder and former Director of the Words Without Walls Program, a program to teach creative writing in prisons, jails, and rehabilitation centers.
When she retired from teaching in 2019, she bought a sewing machine and learned how to quilt. In her artist statement, she wrote, ‘I am drawn to that which is broken and stitched. A life in a community of recovery has led me to see the force and beauty of the wounded who have survived. The stitched line like a scar. Striving to make music, in cloth or words, out of that which is broken.’
See more of Sheryl St. Germain’s writing and art onher website.
Top image courtesy of Pierre Jean Durieu/Shutterstock.
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