Valerie Esker
2011 Florida Senior Poet Laureate

Valerie Esker, 73, of Beverly Hills is a retired Licensed Practical Nurse with many poetry awards to her credit, including the Honor Scroll Award in the 2008 Senior Poets Laureate competition. She was raised in an ethnically varied multi-generational home which she deems, in retrospect, to have been interestingly dysfunctional and the source of inspiration for some of her soap-operalike dramatic writings. Valerie and her husband of 54 years, Jim, have four children who also inspire her work. Her sign is Libra.


Mother yearned for a home apart from her in-laws--threatened to leave father if her
dream was not fulfilled; cowered under grandmother's scowl for fifteen years. When
I was twelve, we moved to a place in the country, planted rows of waving corn,
harvested juicy elderberries, smiled at one another often. Sun bleached my hair blond,
tanned my skin deep, golden brown. Oh, the song of the nesting robins, the green
fluttering of oak leaves, the sweet smell of the good earth! I did not miss the stern face
of my grandmother.

look here
carrying food to their nest
a long line of ants

The seasons now have cycled many times. I pack my worn duffle bag--folded jeans,
several warm shirts, new underwear, and of course my prescription pills and vitamins--
toss it into the back seat of the many-miled Chevy. I roll down the window to inhale the
crisp evening air. In the descending shadows, as I traverse the highway lined with the
fragrance of pine forest, deer graze, unconcerned with my presence. Ahead, the harvest
moon beckons. I head west, alone, toward the rustling sound of autumn's laughter.

Valerie Esker