Home > Poetry > Zeno’s Paradox, or My Mother’s Forsythia
Joyce Peseroff
Published: Tue Apr 15 2003
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Zeno’s Paradox, or My Mother’s Forsythia

By half and half and half and half again,
I can approach but never touch

her bristling-yellow-paintbrush-flowing-green
forsythia in April as it drops

flower for leaf; or how “Scarlet Begonias”
harmonized, a soundtrack to my grief,

weeks after she died. If I describe the crack
in Garcia’s voice as a man breaking honeycomb

from a box of tranquilized bees, smudgy
embers in the smoker, can you hear it?

Between radiance and pitch, an element’s
half-life could be a millisecond or an era.

Kiss the sweet that drips from open cells—
apple, almond, peach-perfumed, whatever

blossoming orchard gorged the dozing hive—
half a moment, and I’ll be satisfied.

See what's inside AGNI 57

Joyce Peseroff’s fifth book of poems, Know Thyself (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), was named a “must-read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She was distinguished lecturer at University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she also directed the MFA program in its first four years. She blogs on writing and literature at joycepeseroff.com. (updated 4/2018)

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