Friday, March 29, 2013

Self-Portrait at 44

When I was seven years old
I was sure I was going blind.
I sat on the floor of the bedroom
and stared down the calico pattern on the bedspread
until the little yellow flowers buzzed
into apple red background blurriness.
A stuffed duck dissolved into a furry moon.
The curtains, unsuccessful in their ruffles,
disappeared into the light of outside.

I never told my mother.
How could I harpoon her heart?
“My youngest daughter can’t see.”

Focus and unfocus,
it’s a trick I’ve played through the years.
I still don’t know what I want.
Sometimes I can’t see the beauty in my own neighborhood –
the two workmen on top of the roof across the street
who stretch out, smoke, and laugh into the clouds they make,
or the little girl who tears apart  hydrangeas for confetti.

Command plus plus the view,
take up wearing glasses. See?

Sometimes I’m happy but music pushes me into a lump of tears
and then the song ends and the DJ comes on
with the little jingle that announces the station 
and I feel foolish because the whole day was there all along.
That’s what I want.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

For a Young Friend Who Wants a Bra

Nothing yet.
Soon enough the fabric
buckles, deploys boys.
Your lively thoughts play
down the street, overheard
by mothers who wish
they had the energy,
the same instrumentation
of imagination.

Memory shames.
I kept a growth chart
of breast progress,
held a loopy washcloth
over my chest in the tub
and cupped my hands
over the nothing
that was there. I hoped,
and then I lost interest,
and packed a bag
to run away from home.
I lost interest in that too,
the idea sillier than
saving my nickels
for a chihuahua.

Don’t worry.
You’ll grow as you’ve grown,
an arrangement so fetching
you won’t even notice, lost
in the drowsy navigation
of your beautiful days.