Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Stays--By Mary Jo Balistreri--United States

What Stays

No more a hammock to bright yellow suns,
a white mesh sock hangs empty of Niger seed.
The thud of acorns hits the drive
and twig-crackling limbs snap underfoot.
Smoke wafts up from the woods, the acrid smell
of leaves, the blue vapor of longing.
The dark comes earlier now, a chill in the air.
Yet the soil sings of saturation, and the trees exhale
the color of champagne. In the slant light
of late afternoon, the sun streams through the haze,
through the high windows in the house, and leans
into the single sheaf of wheat bending in its vase
as if to say, Only what vanishes and returns
stays forever.

Mary Jo Balistreri has two books of poetry published by Bellowing Ark Press and a chapbook by Tiger's Eye Press. She has more recently been enjoying learning and writing haiku type poems. She finds it helps her see differently and experience life in a new way. For more information, please visit her at  


  1. Mary Jo,
    A great poem. What is a Niger seed? Congratulations on your two books, they are both by invitation only so they must have really had faith in your work!
    Your friend,'
    David Fox

  2. Excellent piece! I love the descriptive words you use here, thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you David. Thank you Peggy. I so appreciate you writing.
    Have a good day. Very hot here in WI.

    David, Niger seed is for finches.

  4. Dear Jo, Your poem is an absolutely beautiful description of the leaving. Then you bring the leaving inside to the vase to say ONLY what vanishes and returns stays forever. Your poem tells me in a beautiful way something very important. Thanks

  5. Hi Mary-Jo,
    I like how you have created sounds, smalls as well as images in your work underpinned by a message. What a pleasure to read this combination of words. (I am also pleased you explained what Niger seed means:), thank you

  6. Mary Jo, what a delightful and touching poem. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing it and continued blessings!

    -MJ (