Flesh of the Sun
Life Above the Ground
by Barbara Blanks


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This collection of prize-winning poems by Barbara Blanks carries the reader through the range of human experiences.

Perhaps a normal, sensible sequence would begin with Dawn, and end with Dusk or Eclipse, but she chooses to start with light and a kiss from the gods, move through the dark eclipse that sears like dragon’s breath, then feel a joyous pulse at the pinnacle of light—and have some fun along the way.

Her feet might be “wet from not quite leaping over puddles” but Barb is still willing to “pull the husk away from heaven, and bite into the flesh of the sun.”

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Your little book, Flesh of the Sun, is worth its weight in gold. In particular, I love “The Sculptor,” and “The Bag Boy.” You nailed it. I can see him, hear him, hear you, and I, too, applaud as his face shines “with the splendor of the sun.” And “Pop’s Story” makes me think of your prose book about Pop. I loved that book, too. Pop has come alive for me—nice to meet him again in a poem. “In Essence”—so much said in so few words. Perfect. Great work, Barb.

–Mary Cimarolli, author of The Bootlegger’s Other Daughter, and Man of Grace.

Second Star to the Right

He was a boy with wings
who ran full tilt
into everything he did,
saying he soared because
he could park later.
He smiled at himself
in the mirror every day,
seeing the hope
of dreams to come,
unwrapping each day
like an exciting gift.

Such a brief encounter with
unrestrained joy.
Somehow I lost it
or gave it away—maybe had it stolen
from me piecemeal, unnoticed.
I still search for that youth,
even knowing return is impossible.
Life is a spiral—not a circle.

And so, when I can’t sleep,
I throw off the covers, raise my legs,
and “walk” on the ceiling.
If I scrunch my eyes tight,
stars appear behind my lids.
I can at least pretend
I’ve learned to fly again.


Up late again. I tumble out of bed,
stagger into the door frame,
and yell down the hall at the kids,
“Get up now!”
I stumble to the kitchen,
plug in the coffee pot,
spill orange juice down my robe,
mutter a word I don’t want the kids to hear,
and yell at them again.
“The bus’ll be here in ten minutes.
Move it—or you’ll never eat
or see TV again!”
I’m such a morning grouch.

June Cleaver woke up smiling,
cooked, baked pies, cleaned,
laundered, gardened—did more
in one day than I can do all week—
all while perfectly coiffed,
and wearing pearls and heels.

I know my limits; life is more
than ironing and aprons. June can bake
her perfect apple pies from scratch.
As for me, give me Sara Lee …
now there’s a role model.

Rocking with Angels

I always thought that angels would
come whispering,
on wings that fluttered silently,
riding down the fragile lines
of my ascending prayers.
And I’d be waiting there
to rise, be carried in their arms,
and I would go reluctantly,
dragged up those golden stairs.

But … Listen!

Angels wings are drumming
at my windows, at my door—
they’re drumming   drumming   drumming
like I’ve never heard before.
Angels drawing ever closer,
closer to my ear,
telling me I can let go,
there’s nothing left to save,
this used up wasted body
is heading for a grave.
They’re drumming in my heart, my brain,
they’re drumming at my soul,
they’re drumming with a joyous pulse,
and I just can’t control
the way my soul
leaps up and dances, shouts triumphant praise,
for spirit lives, and spirit grooves
to drumming   drumming   drumming
setting Heaven’s lights ablaze.

All poems are by Barbara Blanks, and are copyright protected. Please do not copy, use, or share without the author's written permission.