February 27, 2011

Sally Bliumis-Dunn


My mother is eighty-two,
not so steady on her feet;

she falls now and then;
last week, in her driveway;

missed a step she said; she has
more of them now:

moments when she seems
almost absent from herself

and the greedy earth pulls her.
I watch leaves fall

and wonder how
it can be the same word,

a few yellow leaves now,
just outside my window,

caught suddenly in
an updraft, like butterflies

drifting down, before
they land on a flower,

wings opening,
and closing like lungs.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006

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June 1, 2009

Sally Bliumis-Dunn


The grass seems lusher
in the wet gray air,

but less approachable now—
thick curtain of pouring rain.

The day before I leave your home,

crimson urn on the dark cherry
coffee table, picture windows
framing the lagoon—

all seem more beautiful,
knowing I won’t see them
for another year.

As though I look at them
through something like

this curtain of rain.

More beautiful, but beautiful
still on all the days before.

I used to envy the simply grateful,
who, without needing

separation or loss,

would lift their heads
from their busy supper or book

and revel in the steam from a teacup
winding its slow way
to nothingness in the air,

or just the teacup
catching the window’s tiny
parallelogram of light.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008

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September 7, 2008

Review by Paula Marafino Bernett

Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Wind Publications, 2007
600 Overbrook Drive
Nicholasville, KY 40356
ISBN: 978-1-893239-69-2
103 pp. $15.00

There’s beauty, intelligence and a keen poetic eye at work among the 77 poems collected in Sally Bliumis-Dunn’s Talking Underwater. But too often the poems feel as if they’ve been transmitted from an underwater place (the title poem isn’t happened on until page 85), only infrequently bursting through the surface to present the reader with an accomplished, realized poem.

There’s aspiration too, evident in a wealth of strong phrases, ambitious ideas, and pulses of energy that promise much, but often fail to deliver.

In Section I, the poem “Not Seeing” begins with this strong opening: “…everything is too much/ what it has been/ and not enough/ what it is.” These lines are obliquely supported by the example of the leaf, which does not do them justice. Then comes the line “… I see nothing/ in your hand…” and as I’m struggling to connect this thought to the opening, an inchworm wrapping itself in a leaf enters the poem, arguably very much what it is, and I’m lost.

“Leaving for College” gives us another strong set of lines:

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