The Depths of Bone and other works by Gina Ferrara
Gina Ferrara works as an educator and lives in New Orleans near Bayou St. John. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Her chapbook, The Size of Sparrows, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Poetry East, The Briar Cliff Review, and Callaloo. She was recently awarded a grant from The Elizabeth George Foundation and has work forthcoming in The Poetry Ireland Review. Her latest collection of poems, Ethereal Avalanche, will be published in 2009 by Trembling Pillows Press. She currently coordinates Poetry Buffet, the monthly reading series sponsored by the New Orleans Public Library.
for Rita Mae Smith
I never asked Rita about the traffic
light that washed her walls in colors
of stop, caution and go, nor the kinetic
sculpture she made from milk jugs.
She lived down the winding street.
So when she wanted to paint a portrait
of me at fourteen I posed
as a thunderclap, outlined head to foot
in pink, then filled with azure and aquamarine.
My body became water marked
by damselfish, flecks swimming
around archipelagos of pink limbs
without bones or the necessity of tendons,
a blending of blue-pink contrasts
to fusions of dusk and flesh.
The light quavered like my moods,
she said, the same shades seen
in oceans and skies.
The Depths of Bone
Some skulls are delicate
made of sugar with glinting crystals.
On the altar, scarlet roses
and orange slices surround them
like planets. Not mine.
Unearthed, then polished,
I gleam a little darker than tusks,
solidly glib with smoothness
since the aimed bullet barely grazed
the space between my eyes.
I illuminate and shine unshattered
in dark alcoves and corridor's of memory.
My cranium welcomes the carver's blade
ascribing fresh constellations
into the depths of bone
affixed to a place
other than heaven.