The following interview of Mary Kay Rummel by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission).
Mary Kay Rummel is the first Poet Laureate of Ventura County, California. The Lifeline Trembles, her seventh book of poetry, won the 2014 Blue Light Book Prize and was recently published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco. That press also published her previous book, What’s Left Is The Singing. Her first poetry book, This Body She’s Entered (1989) was a Minnesota Voices Award winner at New Rivers Press. Her poems recently won prizes poetry contests sponsored by Irish-American Crossroads of San Francisco and by Ventura County Writers’ Club and the Great River Shakespeare Festival sonnet competition. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, most recently in Nimrod, Pirene’s Fountain, Askew, Persimmon Tree, Miramar. Recent anthology publications include Creativity and Constraint (Wising Up Press), Amethyst and Agate: Poems of Lake Superior (Holy Cow! Press), A Bird Black As The Sun (Green Poet Press); Meditations on Divine Names (Moonrise Press); Woman in Metaphor (inspired by the paintings of Stephen Linsteadt) and River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the 21st Century by Blue Light Press. Often performing poetry with musicians, Mary Kay has read in many venues in the US and London. She is professor emerita from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and she teaches at California State University, Channel Islands, dividing her time between Minneapolis and Ventura, CA.
If by truth you mean hands
shaping the vertebrae of stars
If by hands you mean oak branches
scratching the moon’s face
If by branches you mean that sickle moon
lying on its side as if asking
If by moon you mean pillow, expectant
as we, fingers laced, walk dim streets
If by pillow you mean feather words
the breath of fasting lovers
If by words you mean answers
where the moon tilts on its side,
like a burning blade
If by answer you mean bruised trees
clouds, lights of a far-off city, or the way
your finger slides into my closed fist
trembling the lifeline, the way
your palms resurrect my breasts.