Tricks of Light

Jeanie Tomasko

In Jeanie Tomasko’s chapbook Tricks of Light, intangibles like love, longing, and spirituality are borne on the wings of birds and bees and illuminated by “the palest of light / when the nudge from sleep / comes from quiet things, / beckons you out the door, / down the path, / singing songs you used to know.”

The collection is sprinkled with works from Tomasko’s ekphrastic series, which uses plates from Audubon’s Birds of America as inspiration: from “Plate 251   Piping Plover,” “What you need in the end / is simple: the silent sea, a raveled / strand, scrim of sky.” Tomasko’s lines play with light, making it shift and flicker as in “Tricks of Light”: “All fall I watch the leaves / trade their place with light.”

Jeanie Tomasko is the author of Sharp as Want (Little Eagle Press), which is a poetry/artworks collaboration with Sharon Auberle. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Lilliput Review, Verse Wisconsin, The Midwest Quarterly and Wisconsin People and Ideas. Centennial Press has accepted her manuscript, The Collect of the Day, for publication.

Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, she earned her degree in nursing from UW–Madison and works as a home health nurse in the Madison area. She is an active member of the ecumenical Benedictine community at Holy Wisdom Monastery. She has four grown children. Jeanie and her husband, Steve, enjoy the outdoors and venture out whenever they can via foot, ski, or a couple of paddles and a seaworthy canoe.

A review of Tricks of Light by Hope McLeod appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Issue 109 (2012). McLeod writes, “Reminiscent of haiku, both economical and bursting with natural imagery, Tomasko transforms despair, grief, loss, and impermanence into something of value. Each elegiac poem conveys a similar message: let go of grief.”

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Plate 354 Swainson’s Hawk

Unsolicited and deft,
he comes
like certain diagnosis–

a shadow that
will rearrange

we know–
and don’t–
about light.