for my daughter and my mother
On International Women’s Day –
I read my daughter’s words
any step in the right direction is not a loss.
Witness the beauty of her precise economy
her spirit of generosity, her incisive analysis
her ethics of care, her understanding
of this flawed present, her anticipation
of a possible future.
I wonder at my daughter, her transformations
her life empowered by loving friends.
A taut bravery anchors her voice
in the tender tough knowledge of so many.
On International Women’s Day, I call
my mother tells me her brain
can’t wrap round the books I sent her
but she is glad to have them
I send her books.
Weeping, I return in my mind
to a bookish child
and my mother who reads to me.
My mother says,
I always wanted to dance
but we were so poor.
And I remember my countless lessons,
recitals of indigo blue tulle sewn
satin ribbons tied just so
I danced my heart out
for decades, my mother’s spirit
animates a twirl of arms and legs
Spinning limbs.in my mind’s eye
a ritual of body memory
singing with pleasure.
My mother’s passion for reading
my passion for a solitary chair
a happy tether to a PhD
A painful sliver dives deep
in the palm of my hand
a turning, the page
the room, alone
a pen, a cigarette in clutched fingers
a notebook that listens
My mother mouths the words –
There was a little girl who had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead
and when she was good she was very very good
And when she bad, she was horrid.
A Shout Out
round and round the garden like a teddy bear
storying a river
to crush the nice
to embrace the horrid
an insurrection writes a life
my mother’s words
leak through me in this word:
On International Women’s Day
my daughter writes to the suffering –
I stand with you...
March 8, 2017