Friday, September 23, 2011

Three Poems for Jennifer

For Jennifer
(On her 35th Birthday)

We lived in a trailer park
off highway 72
where you were conceived.
I stripped and scraped
the paint off an old crib from a family attic.
Worked in the sun
on the gravel driveway
where the neighbors could see
that something important was happening
I painted it pale yellow
to welcome you
and your awakenings
with the soft light of dawn.

You were so tiny.
Your hair cupped your face –
your forehead, temple, back of your neck –
curved perfection.
Soft, curious, wild.
Anything was possible.

The crib had wheels;
it rolled.
The trailer rolled into the back of our memories
almost forgotten.
You have lived from place to place
and done your best to store up treasures
at each address.

I am not the best mother that has ever lived,
stripped and scraped by time.
But the pale yellow still rises each morning
with the promise
that something important is happening


Pork chop

Your grandmother saw it first-
my belly was contracting rhythmically.
You were knocking at the door,
ready to be born.
She stood from the table --
Muse Street dining room
under the old man praying
over a loaf of bread –
We left pork chops, peas and mashed potatoes
We could eat later
when your face was in full bloom.
The old man never moved --
never stopped praying.

She put on a pink pantsuit,
combed her hair--
greased her lips with color.
She was young again.
You were coming --
a new generation.
A chance to start over,
to get it right this time.


My Daughter

When I can blow
the fog of narcissism away
out to sea --
you come into view
on the horizon of my best dreams,
answered prayers.

Two legs, two arms
ten fingers, ten toes --
you came into the world
with all that is required.
A pretty face
good health
quick wit
sharp mind.

I have loved you well.
Loved you long and strong
to let you go
to places
I can only imagine.