Patricia Lee Lewis

 

Patricia Lee Lewis (aka Pat Sackrey, Smith ‘70) has led writing retreats for the past 15 years, at Patchwork Farm in western Massachusetts, in the U.S., Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica and the British Isles. She celebrates our relationship to the earth as sacred, to writing as a way of finding what is deepest within us, and to teaching writing as a participatory, supportive endeavor. She holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College, and a BA from Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa. An Affiliate of Amherst Writers & Artists and national trainer of workshop leaders, her poem, “Two Hundred Wings” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her book of poems, A Kind of Yellow, won first prize for poetry in a Writer’s Digest international competition. It is available through bookstores and at www.writingretreats.org.




 


 

 

Two Hundred Wings

You are pregnant, the doctor says, I am sorry, leaves
float golden orange, he turns away, his white coat, his big
shoulders, between twig and ground, are you sure, the girl says,

a hundred starlings, it’s all she can think to say, light
among red oak branches, except then she cries, their voices
like the voices of the thousand leaves, what else to do

with shame and sin and no one will forgive you now, beyond
the trees, you little whore, she can hear the baby’s father,
a woman stands, except then, she says, inside the sobs she says,

she raises both her arms in salutation, is there anything you
can do, it being 1954, it being Texas, two hundred wings,
and this being unforgivable, he turns and says, a single

bellows whooshing, No, I’m sorry, and when her mother
slams her hands against the steering wheel, pushing air,
and says, what have you done to me, in close formation,

and when her father says, like a cloud, I will have to resign
from the ministry, she breathes the risen wind, she knows there
was nothing anyone could do, and she enters the cottage among trees.

 

 

from A Kind of Yellow