Marlene Hitt was the first Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga. She has been a member
of the Chupa Rosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga and the Foothills since
its inception in 1985. In
addition to poetry chapbooks, anthologies and readings, she has
authored a non-fiction book "Sunland-Tujunga, from Village to
City". She serves at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga as Museum
Director and docent. In addition to her poetry activities, she has served as history writer for the Foothill
Leader and the Glendale News Press, the North Valley Reporter, the
Voice of the Village newspaper, and the Shadow Hills Property Owners
Association newsletter. She has been honored as the Woman of Achievement
by the Business and Professional Women's Club. She
lives happily ever after with her husband Lloyd and an outdoor cat
THREE WOMEN WASHING
The three of us wash at this deep well
© 2007 Marlene Hitt
which hides in the minds of women,
not a well in the world but which hovers
outside of time and place.
Rachel reminds us of her barrenness
again and again as though she can change
the state of her living life. She holds
no ghostly children, has no replicas.
I love her, and turn away from her sorrow,
I, who was given to Jacob though
he did not want me.
Rachel and I, we completed one man,
Rachel with beauty and loveliness, I
with six sons to carry his name, yes,
Rachel carried Jacob’s love, I,
his children, then gave him my gift,
my maid, for her fertile body,
Zilpah, who hasn’t a word to say.
Who is happier to wash
in this well? Rachel? Zilpah? I, Leah?
THOUGH I HAVE NO NAME
I yearn for trees, for the scent of grasses, This box home my husband built does not please me,
for the sounds of the meadow and for summer dust.
The ocean has come up beneath us and the sky
is itself a sea that falls in great drops night and day.
a woman whose home was clean and dry, a woman
whose home was her reason to be alive.
My husband, Noah, and our children work,
as I do, to keep the animals fed and cared for.
A litter of kittens emerged this morning
and the lioness is full with new life. Her mate
roars with the need to run and posture and strut.
I am discouraged and fear the days ahead
heavy with the threat of starvation and of
never seeing land again. This water!
Forty days and more, not ebbing at all.
My family sits staring, despondent, and it is I
the mother, who must put my own fears
in a safe hiding place, pretend that all will be well.
We will shout for joy if the elephant can be free again
to roam, and the camel, and the birds to build nests.
I wish to spend an hour talking with neighbors
from our small village, of singing on the Sabbath.
Now, in this wet word turned up side down
we all wait. We all wait. We all wait.
SALT OF THE EARTH
Was I born with a curse, I the curious child?
Eyes, ears, fingers cursed?
My view sweeps over, above, below and behind,
I want to see.
A roar turns me to it, a bang turns my head.
The darkness of the desert engulfs me, I touch it
and it collides with my young body.
Today the earth shook and shook, tore itself
apart, threw out fire and brimstone.
Don’t look back, he told me, with
no explanation. My head turned of its own accord.
The grey blue of the Dead Sea was shattered
with its shaking, a river of fire poured forth
and I did watch it all, why should I not see
a thing never before seen?
Don’t look back, he’d said to me, at the evil
of Sodom and Gomorrah,
run, he said, then he pulled me along.
It is said that I was covered with fire and brimstone.
There is a rumor that I yearned for the city
but I didn’t. An attack on my self that
I did not obey!
I am a curious woman, that was my sin.
I have stood here for years and years mourning
my chance at life, my children, I, now
the pillar of salt in the desert, stiff, my face
glistening these thousands of years.
It is said that my face wears resignation.
I see, I watch, all the days of all the years.
I watch a nation and I do see.
© 2007 Marlene Hitt