McDonald, a poet who ran the Poulsbohemian
Poetry Series in Poulsbo, died in the early days of
January, 2004. She was 68 years old. Marian, an escapee
from California via northeast Oregon, lived on Bainbridge
Island. She taught writing and literature in Los Angeles
secondary schools, and produced educational and trade
programs. Her poems were published in Arnazella, Art
Access, Between the Lines, Exhibition, Paper Boat, Poetry
Motel, Pontoon, Scotch Broom, Spindrift, Raven Chronicles
Online, and Westwind Review.
Never still, never folded
quietly in her lap.
Every morning she stirred
Turkish coffee as it boiled
in the small copper ibrikii,
holding its long handle.
Her hands kneaded flour, butter
and eggs together, twisting Greek
tsoureki into braids while
my small hands struggled
to plait some dough.
My grandmother’s hands
wrapped paper-thin sheets
of dough into triangles of baklava,
tucked rice and onions
into grape leaves—
stopping to wipe dolmatha filling
on her homemade apron
before pushing up rimless glasses.
She told me tales of Greece while she worked,
smiling as she remembered wading
in the Mediterranean—the thalassa—
and her own childhood.
Splashing along the Mediterranean now,
its sand flour-soft,
I feel her hands once more.
We begin to run.
This poem was previously published in Between the