This isn't the first time I've likened the publication of a new book to the birth of a baby, but the effort this past 10 days has gone beyond metaphoric labor to literal heavy lifting. Last Friday, when I should have been blogging about how excited my class got when I announced that they would be publishing their own books just like Kevin Henkes and...well, ME, instead I was loading the car with all manner of promotional accoutrements: a 10x10 Swiss Army canopy, three folding tables, boxes of books, rolls of plastic tablecloth, bags of candy corn and plates of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread, laminated book pages cut from the f&g's Boyds Mills sent me at the last minute, a big fishbowl (for the raffle tickets), and of course, three giant pumpkins. I should have had the epidural.
My first event was held on the front lawn of a Lutheran Church who agreed at the last minute to let me squat there in the middle of a local restaurant event called "Taste of Bethesda" when I couldn't find anywhere else. It didn't rain (hallelujah) and I had a steady trickle of customers: a good combination of people who had received my email announcements of book events and families just passing by. There was no opportunity for a reading, exactly, but I sold 16 copies of both books nonetheless--plenty to make all the bearing down worth it (and now the car is loaded for all the other events this month). Here's a "Taste of Pumpkin Butterfly," the first poem of the new book.
we haul our empty wagon to a patch of hilly earth
weighed down with heavy orange
burdened with cumbersome pumpkins
"This is the one"
"And this one"
we cut the tough vines and turn to load them up
behind our backs
a gust of butterflies rises and tumbles
on hot October air
yellow-green tinged with orange
wings as weightless and angular
as the pumpkins are heavy and round:
the ghosts of our pumpkins untethered from earth