|Jan/Feb 2018 Poetry|
Textile Photo Art by Jeffrey Trespel
I haven't been very forthcoming. Chicken shit,
or just done with myself as a button to push
for storytelling purposes, black stories that sit
under my skin like a bad tattoo. Hard enough to recollect,
so why would I want to repeat them? I don't need
the publicity. If I never stand before another full-length
mirror, it will be too soon. I have resigned from
my reflection. Not near as it once was, well-earned
damage on display. I'm gathered in, a traveled woman
who now prefers to stay home, mice and all.
Snow and cold and ice and all.
I work the art angle, the word angle, make wreaths
for charity and for my son's grave, cook a turkey
when required, get along fine without much in the way
of staff. On my birthday, I mark the years I've lived longer
than my parents. Our line is not long lived.
Still, we leave an impression.
The mystery of those ties
how they hold you up when a child dies
or a spouse wanders, how they turn
a kitchen full of steam and tomato guts
into a day of pure joy, help you pick out
glasses, pick strawberries, pick up
your black dress for your mother's funeral,
help you zip yourself into that dark day.
Once, in the woods of Minnesota
we gathered with our teacher, a deceived wife
of a famous poet, to tell what little we knew
about how women intricately knot themselves together
with secrets and sharing hours and lives
and then, as abruptly as if burned or cut apart,
fall away into dangling unravelment.
Three well-loved women went, to paraphrase.
One because a domineering husband
didn't like how little I liked him. One
because she doesn't want me to watch
her fail and die. The last over a party invitation
that was not mine to make. All flimsy,
foolish, fatuous reasons to throw away
years of heart work, like a ruby on a gold chain
dropped willfully down the sewer grate.