Anniversary

Lifting the sheet and summer blanket high
While the morning air struggles to billow them underneath
As they sink onto the bedframe,

She remembers
When you taught a five-year-old gangly girl
Who adored you so and loved your hugs swallowing hurt and worry
Into your arms strengthened by years of cleaning
And softened by years of cooking and tasting for seven
And rounded by the weight of bringing five into this world
(A labor you called sweet and easy),

How to make a bed just so,
Smoothing out the lines to a crisp and fresh clean.

Now she allows the sheet to wrinkle and the blanket to hold stains,

A reminder that one year you are gone,
As her childhood and your protective love.

The author with her mom when Carol visited to say goodbye. Saturday, 21 June 2014. Falls Church, Virginia.

The author with her mom when Carol visited to say goodbye. Saturday, 21 June 2014. Falls Church, Virginia.

The Modern Workplace

The poet as a little girl, about 1968, in Ocean City, New Jersey.

The poet as a little girl, about 1968, in Ocean City, New Jersey.

 

She remembers hiding in the closet

Afraid to come out for her punishment

Of nothing, really, to be punished for –

Curious, playful, childlike with open eyes

Rather than the closed ones you tried with all your might

To force on her.

 

 

 

And now you come at her again

In the guise of another

In this Sunday of waiting until Monday

When she must face her punishment

For simply trying her best and somehow

Not compensating for your lack.

 

Please don’t hurt this little girl

Again.