SALT: A Poem from Barbara Crooker’s book GOLD

A coupleof months ago, I published a poem from GOLD, by Barbara Crooker, another Douglass College (Rutgers University) graduate. (Link to that posting: With her permission, I am posting this poem from GOLD as part of National Poetry Month and will post another one from her other book I reviewed, MORE.




On the boulevard, the Bradford pears

release their petals; they spill like salt

on the ground.  My grandmother would

have pinched up the granules, thrown them over

her shoulder to fool the evil eye. My mother

would have said Don’t cry over what’s spilled.

When we were in Brittany, we saw les artisan

paludiers harvest it by hand, marketed as fleur de sel,

the flower of salt.  When we poured my mother’s ashes

in the ocean, they ran through my hands like grains

from a silver spout.  On the blue canister in my kitchen,

there’s a little girl standing in the rain in a yellow dress,

the same can of salt under her arm, open, running out,

like those Dutch interiors repeating themselves in convex

mirrors.  Repeating like the bits of DNA in molecules

that become the coins in our ovaries’ purse, doled out month

by month, drawn by the moon.  Long ago, someone tipped

some salt on a black skillet, and decided to call that spillage “stars.”


GOLD is published by Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, an imprint of Wipf and Stock publishers ( and costs $11.00 on Amazon. ( The cover is an excerpt of a painting by Klimt, one of my favorite artists.


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