Kathryn Gessner teaches creative writing, composition, and literature at Shasta College, where she is tenured in the English Department. Scrub Jays in Lavender is available now from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared many places, including the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project site, and also recently in Natural Bridge, Louisiana Literature, the Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop Anthology, Red Rock Review, New Millenium Writings, and in The Illuminations Book. Her childhood landscape in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, along the Delaware River, informs her work, as does the Sacramento River Valley and surrounding mountains she now calls home in Shasta County of Northern California. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas, and she taught writing in Delaware, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Missouri before teaching in California.
Two-tone corduroy and a John Deere tractor,
a house on five acres with a pond, stocked:
largemouth bass, channel catfish, perch.
A window you can fire a gun out of.
Muskrat bones and snapping turtle shells,
composted. The vigilant white tail deer
with late fawns. Coming down the bank to drink.
It had been a drought year.
The man-made landscape, a charisma
that’s not easy to forget.
My father carried a case of Scotch
in the belly of his plane a cache
of Librium, an FAA diagnosis,
and dumb luck.
For us, the children, there was one last
afternoon at Ma Dee’s Chatshop
when we told him that we worried
when he said he would try to set things right
when we thought he really might.